Osteoporosis At Young Age: Juvenile Osteoporosis Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Posted On Dec 12, 2022

10 Min Read

Department of Orthopaedics

Manipal Hospitals

Osteoporosis treatment in Bangalore

Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones lose their density and become brittle and weak. This condition is often brought on by hormonal changes, a lack of calcium or a shortage of vitamin D. Older people, especially older women are generally at more risk of getting osteoporosis. Although rare, osteoporosis can develop in young children due to an underlying medical condition or certain medications. This is called juvenile osteoporosis and it generally occurs at a young age.

What Causes Osteoporosis in Young Children?

The majority of juvenile osteoporosis is caused due to some underlying medical condition or certain genetic disorders. In addition to that, some medications can also cause osteoporosis. Various causes of osteoporosis in young children are:

  • Underlying medical conditions such as juvenile arthritis, diabetes mellitus, osteogenesis imperfecta, homocystinuria, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, Cushing syndrome, malabsorption syndromes, anorexia nervosa, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia, and Turner syndrome.

  • Medications such as anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive medicines, and anticancer medicines.

  • Genetics also plays a role in the onset of osteoporosis at a young age. Children whose parents or relatives have/had osteoporosis are at higher risk of getting it. 

  • Other factors that can lead to osteoporosis in young children are extreme lack of activity or immobility, lack of calcium and vitamin D in the diet, and extreme exercising leading to loss of menstrual periods (amenorrhea).

Who is Most Likely to Get Osteoporosis at Young Age?

Apart from genetic disorders, there are several other factors that contribute to the development of osteoporosis in young children such as:

  • High doses of corticosteroids.

  • Family history of the condition.

  • Lack of physical activity.

  • History of certain chronic health conditions.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Juvenile Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a silent condition since there are no visible symptoms until the patient goes to a doctor with a broken bone. Hence it is difficult to diagnose it in the early stages. Young children with rare idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis (IJO) may show symptoms such as pain in the lower back, hip, and foot, a hump of the spine (kyphosis), sunken chest, a limp etc. 

It is difficult to diagnose osteoporosis in young children until they have a broken bone. Before going for tests and scans, the doctor will ask about the medical history of the child and their family members to find out if a genetic disorder is the cause. Moreover, the doctor will get a physical examination of the child to detect the symptoms. Certain blood tests, bone density tests and X-rays can also indicate the presence of osteoporosis in young children. 

Treatment of Juvenile Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis in young children can be cured. Osteoporosis treatment in Bangalore includes medication and encouraging healthy habits in children such as:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Do walking and other weight-bearing exercises.

  • Reduce caffeine and soda in the diet.

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D through food, drinks, and supplements.

  • Cut back the use of certain medicines such as steroids for chronic conditions, if possible.

  • Protect against fractures.

  • Avoid caffeine

  • Medications to manage symptoms and increase bone strength.

What is Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis?

Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis is a rare bone condition that is characterised by extreme pain and discomfort in the back, trouble walking, numerous fractures, and radiological osteoporosis. The exact causes of the condition are not known hence it is called idiopathic. The onset of idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis usually occurs in the prepubertal period, between 8 and 12 years of age.

Some common symptoms are a pain in the lower back, hips and feet, knee and ankle pain, kyphosis, loss of height and a sunken chest. This rare bone condition is diagnosed based on clinical presentation, skeletal X-rays and bone density tests, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, dual photon absorptiometry and quantitative computed tomography. To know more consult with orthopaedist in Bangalore.

Prevention of Juvenile Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis in young males and females can be prevented by following healthy living habits. Dr. Ajay Kumar S P, Consultant - Spine Care, Manipal Hospital Whitefield, Bangalore, shares six tips to prevent osteoporosis in kids:

  • Promote Bone Building

The matrix of bones is composed of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, water, and collagen, which is the material used to build joints and other human tissues. Along with this, certain cells are needed for bone regeneration. The following are the most important steps your child can take to encourage the activity of these bone-building cells,

  • Be active! Play and work out each day.

  • Use pills or the sun to obtain vitamin D.

  • To get calcium, eat plant-based diets and fortified foods.

  • Maintain a balanced diet that includes fruit and vegetables.

  • Exercise

Exercises are important for proper bone growth. Furthermore, bones respond to stress by becoming stronger and denser, particularly during weight-bearing activities such as jogging, soccer, basketball, and weightlifting. So being physically active may be the most beneficial thing your child can do to support their bone health.

  • Eating Fruits and Vegetables

The majority of studies show that eating a diet high in vegetables and fruits can help maintain bone health. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, and other fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, which is required for the production of collagen, the connective tissue to which minerals adhere during the formation of bone.

  • Take Vitamin D

When sunlight strikes the skin, a hormone called vitamin D is produced. It is necessary for bone formation and regulates how your body uses calcium.

  • Calcium From Plant Sources

Children and adults both lose calcium daily, therefore it needs to be replaced. Both beans and greens are excellent providers of calcium. Numerous vegetables are also abundant sources of highly absorbable calcium, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and others.

  • Avoiding Excess Bone Loss

Children and adults both lose calcium daily, therefore it needs to be replaced. Both beans and greens are excellent providers of calcium. Numerous vegetables are also abundant sources of highly absorbable calcium, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and others. To prevent excessive bone loss, follow these steps,

  • Limit salty foods

  • Avoid protein from animal sources.

  • Keep children away from smoking.

  • Avoid caffeine

Children can stay on the right track with the help of a few guidelines, such as a diet rich in grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit, as well as regular exercise.

Complications and Long-term Risks of Osteoporosis at Young Age

If left untreated, juvenile osteoporosis can result in bone integrity and increase the child’s risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures later in life. Hence, it is recommended to diagnose and treat juvenile osteoporosis as early as possible. 


Here are some frequently asked questions on osteoporosis at a young age.

Q.1: Why do I have osteoporosis at a young age?

Osteoporosis at a young age is called juvenile osteoporosis and it is an autoimmune disease. It means the immune system, which normally protects the body from foreign substances, attacks the body instead. The disease is also idiopathic, which means that no exact cause is known. 

Q.2: Can a 25-year-old get osteoporosis?

Low bone mineral density can occur at a very young age — especially if a person has a strong genetic predisposition to the condition. Although rare, a 25-year-old can get osteoporosis.

Q.3: What are the causes of osteoporosis in young adults?

Osteoporosis in young adults also known as juvenile arthritis may be related to genetics, certain infections, and environmental triggers.

Q.4: What are the juvenile osteoporosis symptoms?

Some common symptoms of juvenile osteoporosis are:

  • Joint stiffness

  • Pain and swelling in joints.

  • Persistent fever

  • Weight loss and fatigue.

  • Eye redness and blurred vision.

Department of Orthopaedics

Manipal Hospitals

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