Osteoporosis and Down's Syndrome

Health Professional

There are many conditions that can increase one's risk of developing osteoporosis, but those who are caregivers for individuals with Down's syndrome should be particularly attuned to the possibility of low bone mass for those in their care. A recent article describing one patient (www.orthosupersite.com/view.asp?rID=26426) outlines what can occur -- a violent seizure of the kind frequently suffered by older Down's patients can result in a broken bone  (or  two) even without a fall or similar trauma.

Recent studies have shown that osteopenia is more common in those with Down's syndrome than in others, and  the condition may even be worse  for those who undergo longtime treatment with anticonvulsant drugs used to prevent the seizures. In addition, the communication barrier can make it more difficult for a caregiver to become immediately aware of a fracture that  does occur. For these reasons it is vital that  adults with Down's syndrome receive regular DXA screenings to check on their bone health and appropriate treatment if necessary.