Osteopenia: Characterized by lower than normal bone mineral density (T score between -1.0 and -2.5). Though it's considered a precursor to osteoporosis, not every person diagnosed with osteopenia goes on to develop osteoporosis. Individuals with eating disorders are at heightened risk for development of osteopenia. Amenorrhea, secondary to low estrogen levels, is the primary cause of bone destruction in EDs. Hypercortisolism and other hormonal or metabolic changes are also etiological factors. A bone density study is recommended for all patients who have had amenorrhea for 6-12 months due to an eating disorder. A recent study has shown nutritional restoration to physiologic balance and natural resumption of menses are critical to bone recovery in EDs. Source 1, 2, 3.
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