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Pediatric or Juvenile Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens your bones, making fractures more likely. It is most common later in life, especially in women after menopause. But it’s possible for children and teens to develop Juvenile osteoporosis. This affects children within the age group of 8 and 14 years. It’s a serious problem because it strikes when a child is still building up his bone strength. You build about 90% of your bone mass by the age group 18 to 20 years. Losing bone mass during prime bone-building years can put someone at risk for complications such as fractures.
Types of Juvenile Osteoporosis
- Secondary Osteoporosis: Secondary Osteoporosis means that another medical condition is to blame. This is the most common kind of Juvenile Osteoporosis. Some of the diseases and causes that can lead to osteoporosis in children include: Juvenile arthritis, Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Leukaemia, Celiac disease, Osteogenesis imperfecta (“brittle bone disease”), Homocystinuria (a genetic metabolic disorder), Hyperthyroidism, Hyperparathyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, Malabsorption syndrome, Anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders, Kidney disease. Sometimes, juvenile osteoporosis is a direct result of the disease itself. For example, with rheumatoid arthritis, children may have lower than expected bone mass, especially near arthritic joints. The so-called female athlete triad can also lead to osteoporosis in young women. It’s a syndrome of three conditions that include a lack of energy caused by poor eating habits. Certain drugs can also lead to juvenile osteoporosis. These can include chemotherapy for cancer, anticonvulsant medicines for seizures, or steroids for arthritis. If any child has any of these symptoms, it is advisable to get their bone density checked.
Idiopathic Osteoporosis: In this type of osteoporosis, the doctor does not know what caused the disease. This type of Juvenile osteoporosis is much less common. It is more common in boys than in girls. It usually starts just before puberty. The child’s bone density may mostly recover during puberty, but still, not quite be normal when bone mass peaks as an adult.
Symptoms: The signs and symptoms of juvenile osteoporosis include:
1. Pain in the lower back, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
2. Trouble with walking
3. Fractures in the legs, ankles, or feet.
Diagnosis: Bone density scans are the most accurate way to detect a lowered bone mass, but they need to be interpreted carefully to make a clear diagnosis in children.
Treatment: Doctor will make recommendations based on the cause of the child’s juvenile osteoporosis. If it is caused by another disease, the doctor will first treat the cause of osteoporosis. If medication is responsible, then the doctor would recommend other medicines or the same medicine at lower doses. None of the osteoporosis drugs that adults can take is approved for use in children. It is very important to protect the child’s bones from fracture. He may need to use crutches or other supports. Avoid exercises such as contact sports, that could cause a fracture. All children, including those with juvenile osteoporosis, need a lifestyle that helps build healthy bones.
This includes a diet rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, and as much safe physical activity as possible Avoid caffeine. Every year they need to get their bone density checked.
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