If your child has been diagnosed with low bone mass, the road ahead is not necessarily easy. While the condition may respond to calcium and Vitamin D, it is often intertwined with other medical issues and no "quick fix" may be possible. Here are some important ideas to bear in mind as the family surmounts the challenges associated with childhood osteoporosis.
Parents of children with low bone mass - especially those who have already suffered a fracture - may be tempted to do everything possible to keep their kids out of harm's way. However, Dr. DiMeglio, a pediatric endocrinologist at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, notes that some amount of physical activity is necessary for healthy bones. "Don't prevent kids from getting any exercise," she suggests. "You need some physical activity to build bones." Dr. DiMeglio advises parents of children who have already sustained fragility fractures to endeavor for their child forgo all high risk pursuits- such as the trampoline and the high bars on the jungle gym, as well as contact sports. But low impact exercise is helpful, she notes. In fact, some sports, such as karate, can help with balance and even be modified to enhance safety for the child with delicate bones.
A parent of a child with low bone mass should also be especially aware of the possibility of vertebral compression fractures in the child. These "silent" fractures can cause severe back pain and should be brought to a doctor's attention immediately. In addition, it is always a good idea to ensure that the child has had a complete metabolic work-up to rule out other potential medical conditions.
One final suggestion to bear in mind is to remember that you are a role model for your child. If your child has low bone mass, it is especially important that you do your best to take care of your own bones as well. Maintaining a healthful diet and a regular exercise program of your own will help set an excellent example for your child to follow. And be sure not to smoke or drink excessively, since following you into such a pattern could be particularly harmful for a child with fragile bones. For the sake of your entire family, it is vital that bone health become a priority in your household.
Published On: December 05, 2007