The difference between osteopenia and the clinical condition of osteoporosis is simply a matter of degree. Because of changes in hormones, blood cell production, bone marrow content, and other aspects, bones become more fragile, breaking easily and not repairing well.
Vertebrae may collapse, distorting the vertebral articulations and putting more pressure on spinal nerves, causing more pain.
Dietary changes to elevate calcium levels, hormone therapies, and exercise do not prevent the development of osteoporosis but they do dramatically slow down the process.
Chondrocytes produce a slightly different form of gelatinous compound making up the cartilage matrix. This causes increased stiffness and thickness of the joints.
Intervertebral discs shrink and, because of the compressed discs and the loss of bone mass, body height decreases and the thoracic spine curves, resulting in kyphosis.
As muscle and skeletal mass decreases, so does the body’s mineral content. This decline can be slowed or prevented by a combination of exercise and increased dietary mineral supplementation.