Juvenile Osteoporosis: Causes, Treatments, Types

Juvenile Osteoporosis: Causes, Treatments, Types

Juvenile osteoporosis is a rare condition that affects children and adolescents. It causes excessive bone loss, inadequate bone development, or both.

Osteoporosis translates as “porous bones.” When it occurs, an individual is at increased risk of developing bone fractures due to excessive bone loss, insufficient bone formation, or both.

Often, an underlying condition causes someone to develop juvenile osteoporosis, but in some cases, doctors can’t find the cause.

This article looks at the types, causes, and treatments for juvenile osteoporosis and how it compares to osteogenesis imperfecta, a similar condition.

can someone develop one of two kinds of osteoporosis: secondary or idiopathic.


In most casesa child or adolescent will develop secondary osteoporosis.

In these cases, an underlying disease causes the individual to develop osteoporosis.

Both adults and children can develop secondary forms of the disease.

Several factors can lead to secondary osteoporosis, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis, certain medications, and behaviors such as inactivity or smoking.


Idiopathic osteoporosis refers to when a doctor cannot determine the underlying cause of bone loss. This type of osteoporosis is weird.

Often previously healthy children will develop idiopathic osteoporosis before puberty. It can develop at any time from the age 1 to 13with a mean age of onset of 7 years.

The causes of juvenile osteoporosis vary depending on the type an individual has.

Children who develop idiopathic osteoporosis have no known cause. In other words, a doctor cannot trace the cause to an illness, medication, or behavior.

Secondary osteoporosis, on the other hand, can result from a variety of conditions, medications, or behaviors.


Various diseases and underlying health conditions. may cause develop juvenile osteoporosis. Some examples include:

A child’s doctor may identify another underlying condition. Finding out the exact cause will help in the treatment of secondary osteoporosis.


The use of certain medications. may cause juvenile osteoporosis. Some common causes include:

  • corticosteroids: often used to treat asthma or juvenile arthritis
  • anticonvulsants: often prescribed for epilepsy
  • immunosuppressive agents: often used in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disorders


Certain behaviors or lifestyles may cause someone to develop juvenile osteoporosis. Some potential causes include:

  • excessive exercise leading to no menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Alcohol abuse
  • of smoking
  • lack of calcium and vitamin D
  • prolonged periods of immobility or inactivity

Osteogenesis imperfecta is a weird Genetic disorder with which a person is born. The condition affects both connective tissue and bone. It can also cause atypical bone growth.

Symptoms of osteogenesis imperfecta can vary from person to person, as can the age at which symptoms appear.

Both of these conditions can cause an individual to break bones more easily. However, while osteoporosis only affects the bones, osteogenesis imperfecta can affect other areas of the body, including:

  • lungs
  • heart
  • teeth
  • ligament flexibility
  • muscular strength

They also differ in their causes. Most cases of osteoporosis occur due to an underlying condition, including osteogenesis imperfecta.

In contrast, osteogenesis imperfecta is the result of a genetic mutation that causes problems with the quality of bone collagen.

To distinguish between the two, a doctor you will probably need a:

  • examine the individual’s family history to check for the presence of osteogenesis imperfecta
  • check the eyes for the presence of purple, gray, or blue sclerotic often found with osteogenesis imperfecta
  • do genetic testing or a bone biopsy in some cases

Treatments for juvenile osteoporosis vary depending on the type and underlying cause of the osteoporosis.

In cases of idiopathic osteoporosis, the condition may go away on its own spontaneously.

In the case of secondary osteoporosis, a doctor will need to treat the underlying condition. Once someone has treated the condition causing secondary osteoporosis, the osteoporosis itself should also go away.

Until disease remission occurs, a doctor will likely recommend strategies to prevent spinal or other bone damage. Some possible steps a doctor may recommend include:

  • using assistive devices, such as crutches
  • eating a well-balanced diet with calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • avoid weight-bearing activities
  • doing physiotherapy

the most of children and adolescents who develop juvenile osteoporosis experience a complete recovery from the condition with no side effects or long-term complications.

During the course of the disease, they may lose some bone growth.

However, they will also often experience bone growth again once they no longer have the condition.

Permanent disability can occur in some rare cases. This can include collapse of the rib cage or curvature of the upper spine.

Juvenile osteoporosis involves weakening of the bones which can lead to easy fractures.

There are two types of juvenile osteoporosis: secondary and idiopathic. Treatment generally involves helping prevent injury due to weakened bones, as well as treating any other underlying conditions.

Most children will experience a full recovery. However, in some cases, a child may develop a permanent disability. Taking precautionary measures can help prevent long-term complications.

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