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Adolesc Med State Art Rev. 2015 Aug;26(2):291-325.

Bone Health in Adolescence.


Osteoporosis occurs during childhood and adolescence as a heritable condition such as OI, with acquired disease (eg, IBD), or iatrogenically as a result of high-dose glucocorticoid therapy. However, the number of children affected by osteoporosis during youth is small compared to the numbers who will develop osteoporosis in adulthood. Prevention of adult osteoporosis requires that an optimal environment for the achievement of peak bone mass be established during the growing years. Detection of low BMD can be achieved using modalities such as DXA and pQCT. Standard radiologic studies, especially vertebral radiography, may also be helpful in children and adolescents at high risk for osteoporosis. It is critical to the development of healthy bones that adolescents have proper nutrition with adequate calcium and vitamin D intake and that they participate in regular physical activity (especially weight-bearing exercise). In the recent past, the dual goals of proper nutrition and exercise were not being achieved by many, if not most, adolescents. Those caring for adolescents should strive to educate teens and their families on the importance of dietary calcium and vitamin D as well as advocate for supportive environments in schools and communities that foster the development of healthy habits with regard to diet and exercise. In order to help identify the population at risk for osteoporosis, a bone health screen with assessment of calcium intake and determination of family history of adult osteoporosis (hip fracture, kyphosis) should be a routine part of adolescent health care. Universal screening of healthy adolescents with serum 25OHD levels is not recommended. Adolescents with conditions associated with reduced bone mass should undergo bone densitometry or other studies as a baseline, and BMD should be monitored at intervals no more frequently than yearly. Although controversy remains regarding the optimum dose of vitamin D for treatment of osteoporosis, all would agree that vitamin D should be provided, and in doses somewhat higher than previously recommended. Excessive vitamin D should be avoided. The use of bisphosphonates is recommended for the treatment of OI, as well as for treatment of select children with severe osteoporosis associated with chronic conditions that lead to frequent or painful fragility fractures. In such situations, bisphosphonates should be prescribed only in the context of a comprehensive clinical program with specialists knowledgeable in the management of osteoporosis in children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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