Dr. Siris describes the symptoms of osteopenia and explains how common it is.
Like osteoporosis, osteopenia has no symptoms whatsoever. It just means that there is less bone there and lots of women have it. We say that something like ten million people, that’s women and men, have osteoporosis in the United States but 34 million people have osteopenia.
In a big study called NORA, the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment that we did a number of years ago, we enrolled 200,000 women on primary care settings, all over the country. We did a bone density test and we got a lot of questionnaire information and we found that in that population the range from 50 to 99, none of whom were ever told they had osteoporosis, they came in knowing that they had never been told they had it, something like six percent had osteoporosis but nearly 40% had osteopenia which means osteopenia is really, really common and we have to sort it out among women with osteopenia which ones need to do something about it and which ones simply need to be aware of it, watch it, but not necessarily go beyond having a check up again in a couple of years.
About Dr. Ethel Siris, M.D.:
Dr. Ethel S. Siris is the Director at the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center, Columbia University, is the Madeline C. Stabile Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, and is the immediate past-President for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. She is board certified in endocrinology and internal medicine, focusing on osteoporosis, metabolic bone disease, and bone and mineral metabolism.