Osteoporosis in children or juvenile osteoporosis is a condition characterized by a decrease in the concentration of minerals in the bones, which leads to a decrease in bone density and an increased risk of fractures.
In children, osteoporosis is quite rare, and its occurrence is most often caused by certain medications or lifestyle, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Regarding the time of onset and duration of the disease, there is no rule, these being very variable depending on the underlying cause.
What is important in all cases is that this condition is correctly and early diagnosed to prevent complications as much as possible and to give the child a chance to regain bone mass so that the tip of the bone mass is as close as possible. of normal.
Causes and risk factors
The causes of juvenile osteoporosis are divided into primary and secondary causes.
The primary causes of juvenile osteoporosis include:
- imperfect osteogenesis;
- osteoporosis-pseudoglioma syndrome;
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome;
- Marfan syndrome;
- Menkes syndrome;
- idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis.
Secondary causes of juvenile osteoporosis include:
- chronic inflammatory diseases, such as idiopathic juvenile arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease;
- chronic malabsorption or eating disorders (eg anorexia nervosa);
- other chronic diseases, such as chronic kidney disease and cystic fibrosis;
- endocrine disorders such as hypogonadism,
- hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, growth hormone deficiency;
- drugs such as glucocorticoids, anticonvulsants, methotrexate.
Risk factors are, on the one hand, genetic risk factors, which cannot be prevented, and, on the other hand, lifestyle risk factors, which can be prevented and corrected. Lifestyle risk factors include:
- poor nutrition (especially low calcium and vitamin D intake);
- lack of physical activity, especially in cases where the child is immobilized, but also excessive physical activity if it causes disorders of the menstrual cycle;
- alcohol consumption;
- excessive caffeine consumption.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis in children
Symptoms appear when the disease is already advanced and the main symptoms experienced by children with this condition are: pain in the back, hips or legs, persistent lameness, compression of the vertebral bodies and a decrease in height. At the same time, there are deformities of the spine.
Juvenile osteoporosis is a significant problem because it occurs during the first years of a child’s bone development.
Osteoporosis is a condition that is often asymptomatic. However, when signs and symptoms occur, they are:
- pain (usually of the back or lower limbs);
- deformities of the spine or anterior thorax;
- decrease in height;
- difficulty walking, limited mobility, chronic lameness;
- the occurrence of fractures in low-intensity trauma.
At the same time, children may have various other signs and symptoms, depending on the primary or secondary cause of osteoporosis.
Treatment of Osteoporosis in children
Hospital treatment is rarely necessary and mainly refers to orthopedic treatment (of fractures, but also of any resulting deformities).
Home treatment includes hygienic-dietary measures and possibly drug treatment. Regardless of the cause of osteoporosis, hygienic dietary measures are essential: calcium and vitamin D, regular physical activity (depending on severity, possibly a recovery plan with targeted exercise), smoking cessation, reduction of caffeine consumption, and alcohol.
Activities that can easily lead to trauma and fractures (eg contact sports) should also be avoided. As a treatment, bisphosphonates may be given in severe cases.
A very important aspect of treatment for secondary osteoporosis is the treatment of the underlying cause (including replacement of the drug responsible for osteoporosis or at least dose reduction).