Before taking up the main issue of whether kids get osteoporosis or not, it is important to discuss the practical details of osteoporosis.
What Is Osteoporosis?
The word “Osteoporosis” means “porous bones”. Osteoporosis is a bone disease caused when the density of the bone decreases. This either leads to the loss in bones or formation of very fewer bones or both. Consequently, the bones become weak, brittle, and susceptible to fractures. In severe cases, the bones turn so porous that they can be compress like a sponge.
Symptoms of Osteoporosis
Usually, this disease does not show any symptom in the initial phase but as it slowly develops, pain in the bones become a normal phenomenon. The weirdest thing about this disease is that the patient might undergo fracture after a minor injury, sneeze etc. He/she might not even realize when and how they got their bones fractured. That is why this disease is also called as the “silent disease” as the patient loses his bones without any visible symptoms.
Causes of Osteoporosis
What is once created has to be destroyed and the new one has to evolve. Same is the case with bones. The formation and falling off bones is a natural phenomenon. At a young age, the bone mass is higher in comparison to old age. This is so because, in young people, the rate of formation of new bones is faster than the rate of falling off the old bones. With growing age, this rate of formation reduces and the bone mass is lost faster. Therefore, it depends upon the bone mass one possess.
OSTEOPOROSIS: Common in Elders
Well, this disease is prevalent in elders, especially women after menopause as estrogen (which provides protection against osteoporosis) decreases in the body. As the age increases, the bone density undergoes rapid declines because the rate of formation of bones is less in comparison to the rate of fall out of bones.
OSTEOPOROSIS In Kids
Though the disease is common in elders, sometimes it can even occur in kids. This is categorized in the following three ways:
- Secondary osteoporosis– Caused due to the underlying medical condition.
- Osteogenesis imperfecta– Caused due to a genetic disorder.
- Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis– When no cause is evident.
Let us discuss them one by one.
This is the most common form of osteoporosis witnessed in children. The main reason for this is another medical condition of the patient. Some of the disease like juvenile arthritis, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, leukemia, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease etc. might be the root cause of this disease.
This type of osteoporosis is caused due to any sort of genetic disorder. Any genetic deformity might result in this disease. Kids who suffer from this disease have a reduced bone density since their birth.
Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis
The term “idiopathic” literally means no known cause. As the name suggests, it is one of those kinds of osteoporosis whose actual cause of occurrence cannot be ascertained. The common symptoms experienced by the kid suffering from this category of disease is difficulty in walking, pain in lower part of the body like back, hips, feet etc., fractures in the legs, feet etc. This disease is more prominent in boys as compared to girls. It starts after puberty and takes time to heal. Recovery from this category of disease is quite possible, but some of the problems might remain a puzzle as if bones might not remain as strong as they are or the previous fractures might create a tussle in the later life.
Other factors responsible for this disease are the lifestyle of an individual. Complete inactivity coupled with unhealthy food habits is one of the main cause of this disease in children. The deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D results in weak bones and less formation of bones.
Prevention, Treatment and Cure-
The treatment for the disease varies according to the child’s age, medical history, tolerance for specific medications, preference etc.
It is very important to remember that a balanced diet is the key to a disease free life. This should include:
- Vitamin D– Vitamin D is one of the most essential ingredients for the strengthening of bones. It is helpful as it absorbs the dietary calcium from intestines. Not only this, but the deficiency of Vitamin D may result in osteomalacia, a condition where bones weaken and risks of fracture increases (check what the deficiency of Vitamin D cause to body?). Vitamin D comes from two sources- diet (saltwater fish, liver, fortified foods etc.) and skin (through sunlight) (see more of Vitamin B12).
- Calcium- The intake of Calcium is the most important remedy to the problem of osteoporosis. Calcium is the most crucial substance in building strong and healthy so; foods rich in calcium like dairy products, green leafy vegetables, fish, cereals etc. should be preferred. (See more on calcium rich food).
- Protein- Protein is consider as the building block of the body. It is very important to consume foods rich in protein like nuts, legumes, cereals etc.
Apart from this, certain foods should to avoid like caffeinated drinks. Proper medication supplemented with good exercise (see how banana can help you to gain weight) is the key to the treatment of this disease. Exercising benefits a lot in increasing the formation of bones and reducing the loss of bones. Of course, it is not a one-day solution, but the continuous effort can only solve the problem and reduce tension.