May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month and now is a chance to learn as much as you can about all types of bone loss and the age group each affects. Awareness months are dedicated to spreading knowledge about a particular medical disorder through education and advocacy. Here’s a list of different types of bone loss to add to your knowledge base.
Our skeletons are constantly losing and rebuilding bone, but when that balance is out of sync and the loss exceeds the gains we can be diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia. Osteoclasts remove old bone and the osteoblasts create new vital bone. There are things you can do to get these two biological mechanisms on an equal footing, so as we age we don’t suffer from this and the fractures they can cause.
Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis (IJO)
IJO can occur in children, teenagers and young men and women. This diagnosis is one of exclusion because all other secondary disorders that can cause bone loss are ruled out through various blood and medical tests. It’s called idiopathic because there is no known cause.
Treatments vary depending on age and the number of fractures. Most people with IJO have multiple fractures that are considered fragility fractures. Fragility fractures are breaks that occur from little to no trauma, like: sneezing, coughing, bending forward while rounding the spine, or a fall resulting in a fracture from a standing height.
IJO typically resolves at the end of puberty, but in some patients, it may remain longer without any clear cut reason.
Transient Migratory Osteoporosis (TMO)
TMO can happen at any age in men or women, but as the name implies, it is transient and can resolve after the healing of a fracture or when a bone marrow infection goes away. This type of bone loss occurs in one area of the body and possibly to both body parts like the left and right leg. Osteoporosis is a systemic disorder even though we usually only have our spine and hip scanned by a DXA machine to determine diagnosis. We can assume that if we have bone loss in one area of the body we have it in others, unlike TMO which occurs in just one area of the body.
Juvenile Osteoporosis (JO)
JO is similar to IJO except that in JO there is a cause for it. Medical or medicine causes are the main reasons of bone loss in this age group. This type of bone loss occurs from early childhood to young adults.
Pregnancy and Lactation Induced Osteoporosis (PLO)
PLO occurs in young mothers who are nursing their baby or are pregnant. Some believe this is initially caused by a lack of vitamin D in the mother as a result of the baby receiving most of it while in the womb. This is a rare syndrome causing spontaneous fractures during late pregnancy. Breast feeding can exacerbate this and often specialists ask their patients to wean their baby.
Treatment is essential due to the morbidity associated with these types of fractures. This disorder can remain for years or until treatment for it resolves the cause of the bone loss and multiple spontaneous fractures.
We hope this overview of different types of bone loss that can occur at any age, helps you to prevent their onset, or be prepared to treat these if they should happen to you.
Pregnancy and Lactation Induced Osteoporosis
Transient Migratory Osteoporosis
Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis
See More Helpful Articles
Transient Migratory Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis in Young Pregnant Mothers
Interview with Rachel: A Patient with Idiopathic Juvenile Osteoporosis
Interview with Molly Lippert: The Pre-Teen Ambassador for The National Osteoporosis Foundation