HomeenThe biology suffix “-penia”

The biology suffix “-penia”

The suffix -penia means “deficiency” or “lack”. It is frequently used to name some diseases where there is a lack of vitamins, minerals and other elements. Some common examples are: leukopenia, cytopenia and eosinopenia, among others.

Meaning of – penia

The suffix – penia is a word that etymologically comes from the Greek term penía , which derives, in turn, from the words penises , which means “poor” and the suffix – ía , which means “quality”.

Therefore, the meaning of – penia is literally “poor quality”. It can also be translated as: “lack”, “poverty” or “deficiency”.

This suffix, like many others in Greek and Latin, is used to name numerous diseases, conditions, and parts of the human body. For example, lipopenia is a lipid deficiency in the body.

Examples of words with – penia

In addition to the terms mentioned, there are more examples of words that include the suffix –penia . Some of them are:

Finished Meaning calcipenia It is a condition that occurs when there is an insufficient amount of calcium in the body. For example, calcipenic rickets is caused by a lack of calcium or vitamin D and causes weakening of the bones. Chloropenia It is a deficiency in the sodium chloride concentration in the blood. Cytopenia It is a shortage of cells in the blood. It can occur due to liver or kidney disorders or chronic inflammatory diseases. ductopenia It is a decrease in the number of ducts in an organ, such as the liver or gallbladder. enzymopenia It is an enzyme deficiency. eosinopenia It is the lack of a type of white blood cells (eosinophils) in the blood. erythropenia It is the lack of erythrocytes or red blood cells in the blood. erythroblastopenia It is a deficiency in the production of red blood cells from the bone marrow. glycopenia It is glucose deficiency in an organ or tissue. Kalipenia It is the lack of potassium in the body. leukopenia It’s a low number of white blood cells. This affects the immunity capacity of the organism. lymphopenia It is the deficiency of lymphocytes, another type of white blood cells, in the blood. Neuroglycopenia It is a deficiency in glucose levels in the brain.

Other examples of words with – penia

Here are other examples of words with –penia :

Finished Meaning osteopenia Decreased bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis. phosphopenia Phosphorus deficiency in the body. sarcopenia Sarcopenia (sarcopenia): Sarcopenia is the natural loss of muscle mass associated with the aging process. sideropenia It is a deficiency of iron in the blood. Thrombocytopenia It is a low number of platelets in the blood. Fibrinogenopenia It is a deficiency of fibrinogens, proteins that promote blood clotting. Pancytopenia It is a decrease in blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Other related prefixes and suffixes:

Other related suffixes that are used in anatomy, biology and other related disciplines are:

  • an- : without.
  • emia : blood.
  • cardio -: of the heart.
  • spelling : record.
  • cysto : of the bladder.
  • bronchi -: of the bronchi.
  • iasis : formation, condition.
  • itis : inflammation.


  • Ruíz Torres, F. Dictionary of medical terms . (2000). Spain. CELESA.
  • Guzman Lemus, M.; Guzmán Corral, M. Prefixes, suffixes and medical terms. (2009). Spain. Plaza and Valdes.
  • Leyva, JL Specialized dictionary of technical terms: medical terminology . (2014). Spain. CreateSpace.