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Doctors may overlook osteoporosis in young patients

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Osteoporosis in young adults increases the risk of fractures and breaks that can lead to chronic pain and long-term disability. Yet because this disease is traditionally considered a condition of the elderly, osteoporosis is often overlooked in younger people.

With so much at stake, patients cannot afford a missed or delayed diagnosis.

Unexplained fractures

Doctors should consider osteoporosis in young patients if they have unexplained fractures. If someone breaks a bone from a small accident, it might mean their bones are not strong enough. Doctors need to find out why these fractures happen to catch possible osteoporosis early.

Family history and genetics

A family history of osteoporosis should raise suspicion and prompt doctors to assess the bone health of young patients. Genetic predisposition can play a significant role, and understanding the familial context aids in identifying those at higher risk. Recognizing these genetic factors allows for targeted interventions and preventive measures.

Hormones and reproductive health

Problems with hormones, especially in females, can affect bones. When periods are not regular or there is a condition like polycystic ovary syndrome, estrogen levels may go down, making bones less dense. Doctors should evaluate reproductive health when checking for the risk of osteoporosis in young patients.

Medications and lifestyle

Some medicines and lifestyle choices can make bones less strong. Taking medicines like corticosteroids or anticonvulsants for a long time might affect bone health. Doctors should ask about the medicines a person has taken. Also, sitting a lot, not eating well and having too much caffeine or soda can show possible osteoporosis in young people.

Chronic conditions

In 2022, a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research noted that chronic conditions like inflammation and autoimmune disorders, hyperthyroidism and celiac disease might cause secondary osteoporosis in young people. When checking bone health, doctors need to think about these other issues to avoid problems related to osteoporosis.

Because recognition and early intervention can significantly improve outcomes and prevent long-term complications, osteoporosis must be properly diagnosed in young people.