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The common cases of osteoporosis are usually reported from young adults to older people. Thus, it can be a surprise to hear that a developing body of a small child can develop osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is an illness that weakens your bones that can reach a point where they break easily. It’s also called a silent disease because its symptoms usually only become noticeable when it’s too late.
In the case of children, it’s called juvenile osteoporosis. You may wonder if it significantly differs from other types of osteoporosis and if the care plan for the children is also the same as a complete adult. Here’s a brief description and a helpful care plan to help you through the process.
What Is Juvenile Osteoporosis?
The bones continue to develop, grow, rebuild, and repair from birth until you’re around 25 years old. In this period, you build more bones than you lose, but with juvenile osteoporosis, this development is altered, and rather than build and repair, bones aren’t properly developing, or there are not enough bones being built. The bones break easily because of the decrease in density and loss of strength.
Although osteoporosis in adolescents and small children is rare, it can happen at any age. There are several reasons a child can develop juvenile osteoporosis, including an underlying medical disorder (secondary osteoporosis disorder), medication, or genetic condition. There are also cases where there is no identifiable and definite reason (idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis) that could have caused osteoporosis in children.
How Can You Take Care of a Child With Juvenile Osteoporosis?
Caring for children with juvenile osteoporosis can be tricky since a mistake can significantly affect a child’s development. Although it can be hard to witness your child struggling with this type of disease, it’s up to the adults to care for them. If you’re unsure where to start, here’s a list you can look into.
If you’ve initially suspected something is wrong with your child, it would be best to book an appointment with their pediatrician to check them. It’s crucial that they can be diagnosed as early as possible so that you and the healthcare provider can manage and formulate a care plan for the child. Thus, never skip a doctor’s appointment and be diligent in visiting them to keep your child’s records updated.
Keep in mind that there are not yet any medications for adults that children can use. A doctor will likely prescribe supplements to boost your child’s bone health, which can affect your budget in the long run. Osteoporosis savings and discount coupons, fortunately, are available to help alleviate the financial burdens that come with treatments for this disease.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
As mentioned, osteoporosis can cause your bone mass to drop. Thus it makes your bone less dense and breaks more easily. Thus, they’ll need to maintain a healthy body weight to help the bones from bearing too much weight. Ensure that your child still receives the essential nutrients their body will need.
Encourage Regular Exercise
In keeping a healthy body weight, you should encourage your child to exercise regularly. This is to promote bone growth and building safely. Since the child’s bone can be extra delicate, it would be best to talk with a physiotherapist to help you formulate an exercise program for your child. The plan might also include weight-bearing exercises and more walking.
Increase Calcium and Vitamin D Intake
Calcium is a type of mineral that keeps your bones and teeth healthy. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium easier so you should also include Vitamin D-rich food in your child’s diet. You can increase dairy products to their meals or green vegetables, nuts, or other calcium-fortified foods. You can also consider giving them calcium and Vitamin D supplements if necessary. In cases like this, don’t forget to discuss it with their doctor.
Protect Your Child From Fractures
Most importantly, since juvenile osteoporosis causes your child to have very delicate and weak bones, you must be extra careful and be particular in allowing them to engage in any activities that could harm their bones. A definite example of this is contact sports. Although it can be hard for you to see your child long to play such sports, you must be firm and let them understand their situation.
You can provide alternative activities for your child to take part in. You can let them play board games, read books, play musical instruments, etc. Discuss with your doctor on how to plan and provide activities that won’t cause additional injury for your child.
You’ll work closely with a specialized doctor in caring for children with osteoporosis. Since it’s a sensitive matter and deals with one of the most critical systems in the body, it’s also vital that you keep a close eye on the whole process. It can be a long process for you and your family, but your child can effectively work through their treatment with your support.
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