Juvenile Osteoporosis: Does Your Child Break Bones Often?

Osteoporosis is a condition generally thought of as something people get when they get old, especially elderly women. It is a problem involving a lack in the density or amount of bone tissue. The lack results in easily broken bones. If your child seems to break bones easily, you should talk to a pediatrician about having him or her tested for juvenile osteoporosis. Here is a bit of information about the condition to help you discuss it with your child's doctor.

Types of Juvenile Osteoporosis

There are two types of juvenile osteoporosis. The first, most common type is secondary osteoporosis. This type develops due to an underlying medical condition. A few things that may cause your child's bones to become weak include juvenile arthritis, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, anorexia nervosa, or kidney disease. In addition, if your child suffers with epilepsy, arthritis, or cancer, the medications he or she takes may also cause a reduction in bone density.

Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis has no known cause. It is different from osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) in that OI is a genetic disorder that results in a lack of bone collagen and not just the bone density. The doctor will only diagnose this condition when there are no other possible causes for the lack of bone tissue. However, this condition often resolves itself after a child goes through puberty.  

Other Symptoms of Juvenile Osteoporosis

Just because your child breaks a few bones does not mean it is osteoporosis. He or she could be active and take risks, or engage in dangerous activities. In addition, he or she might not break any bones but have the condition. Here are a few other symptoms you should make note of and discuss with the doctor:

  • Back, foot, or hip pain with no previous trauma
  • A limp for no known reason
  • Curvature of the spine

These are more prevalent in the idiopathic form of osteoporosis but may also be present in the secondary type.

As with any disease or condition, early diagnosis leads to the best prognosis. If your child is suffering with the secondary type, your doctor may work hard to find a solution to the underlying cause first and then worry about rebuilding the bone density. There may be changes in medications to find one which does not cause the bone tissue to disintegrate. If the condition is idiopathic, your child will be given treatments and/or medications to help ease the problem until it resolves itself. Talk with the doctor every step of the way and things should get better with time.