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15-06-2017 | Osteoporosis | Review | Article

Osteoporosis in Children with Chronic Illnesses: Diagnosis, Monitoring, and Treatment

Current Osteoporosis Reports

Authors: Monica Grover, Laura K. Bachrach

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Osteoporosis is an under-recognized complication of chronic illness in childhood. This review will summarize recent literature addressing the risk factors, evaluation, and treatment for early bone fragility.

Recent Findings

Criteria for the diagnosis of pediatric osteoporosis include the presence of low trauma vertebral fractures alone or the combination of low bone mineral density and several long bone fractures. Monitoring for bone health may include screening for vertebral fractures that are common but often asymptomatic. Pharmacologic agents should be offered to those with fragility fractures especially when spontaneous recovery is unlikely. Controversies persist about the optimal bisphosphonate agent, dose, and duration. Newer osteoporosis drugs have not yet been adequately tested in pediatrics, though clinical trials are underway.


The prevalence of osteoporosis is increased in children with chronic illness. To reduce the frequency of fragility fractures requires increased attention to risk factors, early intervention, and additional research to optimize therapy and potentially prevent their occurrence.

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