Mild thinning of the bone mass. Osteopenia represents a low bone mass, but not to the more severe extent of osteoporosis. Osteopenia results when the formation of bone (osteoid synthesis) is not sufficient to offset normal bone loss (bone lysis). Diminished bone calcification as visualized on plain X-ray film (radiologic testing) is referred to as osteopenia, whether or not osteoporosis is present. Osteopenia can be diagnosed by bone density measurement using a bone density scan. "Osteopenia" has two Greek ancestors: "osteon", bone and "penia", poverty = bone poverty.
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1. Decreased calcification or density of bone; a descriptive term applicable to all skeletal systems in which such a condition is noted; carries no implication about causality. 2. Reduced bone mass due to inadequate osteoid synthesis. [osteo- + G. penia, poverty]

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os·teo·pe·nia .äs-tē-ō-'pē-nē-ə n reduction in bone volume to below normal levels esp. due to inadequate replacement of bone lost to normal lysis
os·teo·pe·nic -nik adj

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os·teo·pe·nia (os″te-o-peґne-ə) [osteo- + -penia] 1. any decrease in bone mass below the normal. 2. reduced bone mass due to a decrease in the rate of osteogenesis to the extent that there is insufficient compensation for normal bone lysis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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