Monday, October 27, 2008

Do Young People Get Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is typically thought of as a disease of aging or senescence. In my practice, the typical patients that I see are females over 65 years of age and men who are 72 and older. Unfortunately, however, this terrible disease is becoming more common among even younger patients. \

As an example, in the last 6 months, I have treated three young men, between the ages of 35 and 42 years old. Although that's not the type of person we usually associated with osteoporosis, all three of these men had fragility fractures.

Why would they get this at their age? The answer might surprise you. All three men had vitamin D deficiency. That's right--osteomalacia, the same disorder that is known as rickets in children. A recent study reported at the American Society of Bone Mineral Research showed that 90% Canadian children had rickets.

What's more, most every patient with a fragility fracture that I treat also has vitamin D deficiency. These findings suggest that this disease is being seen in epidemic proportions.

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