Juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis is a bone demineralization condition of patients in their childhood years. This rare condition has no known cause as of today. Medical specialists who diagnose patients as afflicted with this rare disease exclude other types of juvenile osteoporosis due to the absence of leading causes of bone loss such as particular medical therapies and primary diseases that contribute to other types of juvenile osteoporosis.
Juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis usually afflicts children who have been diagnosed with healthy bone conditions before the actual onset of puberty. On average, children aged 7 years are usually the ones that suffer from this rare disease, but the age range of children diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis is from 1 to 13 years of age.
In most cases, children diagnosed with this rare bone disease usually recover complete bone mass that had been lost due to the onset of juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis.
Various forms of juvenile osteoporosis can be attributed to varying causes including underlying medical conditions that usually result to secondary osteoporosis. Some of the causes of such secondary osteoporosis in children are:
- diabetes mellitus
- juvenile arthritis
- osteogenesis imperfecta
- Cushing’s syndrome
- malabsorption syndromes
- various kidney disease
There are also lifestyle-related activities that contribute to the development of juvenile osteoporosis. The most usual factors are:
- prolonged immobility or inactivity
- amenorrhea usually caused by excessive physical exercises
- dietary deficiencies in vitamin D or calcium
Juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis is a condition that occurs during the prime bone-building years of children, and bone growth peaks during 25 to 30 years of age. It is also known that the peak bone mass of people dictate the risks of being afflicted with osteoporosis as well as the bone disease’s extent after the age of 45 and 50.
Inherent factors contribute to the onset of osteoporosis, but the amount of calcium present in the diet together with the physical activity levels of people greatly dictate the developmental progress of peak bone mass and the rate of bone loss experienced later in life.
Juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis is different from osteogenesis imperfecta because inherent bone malformations contribute to the development of osteogenesis imperfecta. This means that children afflicted with osteogenesis imperfecta usually incur symptoms of the disease from hereditary factors. These children often have dental problems, a short stature, eye whites or blue sclera, and hearing impediments.
Detecting the Onset of Juvenile Idiopathic Osteoporosis
The most recent methods for the purpose of detecting the onset of juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis include dual photon absorptiometry, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and quantitative computed tomography.
These modern methods are more accurate in the early detection of substantially low bone mass conditions as opposed to the previous medical detection processes. This is because conventional x ray procedures can only detect the onset of osteoporosis after a significant amount of bone mass has already been lost by children and adult patients alike.
Conventional diagnostic procedures for juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis often detect the presence of this rare disease only after afflicted patients have already suffered from abnormal bone fractures. The usual detection processes for juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis normally include:
- extensive evaluation of a patient’s family medical history
- skeletal x rays
- bone density examinations
- blood tests that can be used to measure potassium levels and serum calcium content of patients
Symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Osteoporosis
Although the primary cause of juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis is unknown as of to date, the initial symptoms of this rare bone disease are:
- difficulty in walking
- tolerable pain in the hips, lower back, and feet
- lower extremity fractures
- ankle and knee pains
- physical malformations such as loss of height, kyphosis or the abnormal curvature of the upper spine , a limp, or a sunken chest.
However, these physical malformations are treatable after the disease has run its course.
Treating Juvenile Idiopathic Osteoporosis
As of to date, no surgical or medical therapy has been developed and subsequently established as the functional treatment for patients suffering from Juvenile Idiopathic Osteoporosis. There are some cases of juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis that are left untreated since the disease spontaneously clears up.
But preventive measures to avoid fractures that can be incurred whilst the disease is running its course are highly advised by medical professionals. These include:
- undergoing physical therapy
- avoiding burdensome physical activities
- using crutches or other similar support devices
- administering an FDA-approved drug known as bisphosphonates to patients under medical supervision
- undergoing a dietary program rich in vitamin D and calcium
Various medical products are also administered to patients suspected by medical professionals to suffer from this rare disease. The usual medications intended to substantially treat and prevent further bone fractures of patients suspected to suffer from juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis and other forms of juvenile osteoporosis are:
- immunosuppressive drugs
- anti-convulsants that are usually given to patients suspected with juvenile osteoporosis and suffer from regular epileptic seizures
Medical professionals should only be the ones who dictate and administer medications to children patients with symptoms of juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis. Moreover, these doctors incorporate varying sets of physical therapies for the treatment of the disease based on:
The extent of the disease, the patient’s overall health, medical history, and age; the patient’s tolerance when it comes to particular medications, therapies, or medical procedures; expectations during the course of the disease; and your opinion and preference to some extent.
Preventive measures against this rare disease are also highly advised by medical experts. These preventive measures are usually the same ones that are recommended by medical professionals to treat patients already afflicted with juvenile idiopathic osteoporosis and some of these suggestions may also be considered as preventive measures since doctors intend to control further bone fractures during the course of the patient’s disease: