6 yr old with mild osteopenia

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My 6 yr old recently broke his finger and after 3 weeks in a cast he was x-rayed again. His X-ray still shows the break as well as mild osteopenia. Isn't he kind of young to have any form of osteopenia? 

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  • Posted

    There are increasing numbers of young children being seen with rickets which is very similar to osteopenia - primarily due to lack of vit D! High factor suncreams when outdoors and playing indoors for a whole range of reasons mean they don't make vit D in their skin which accounts for over 90% of how they get it. It is found in very few foods and in the UK nothing is fortified with vit D except margarine - and that is only to make it the same level as butter - and some cereals.  Vit D is essential to form bone, as is plenty of body-weight-bearing exercise - running, jumping, skipping. So is calcium - lots of milk, cheese and the right veggies (leafy greens, green beans and broccoli!) as well as seafood, which aren't always top on the young child's list of favourites are they! If you look on the internet for ideas don't take any notice of the claims that milk, flour and orange juice have calcium added unless you are in the USA, it doesn't apply in the UK.

    I have to say, I was always led to believe that if an ordinary x-ray showed reduced bone density it must be quite bad. A dexascan is the only reliable way to estimate bone density. However, if the finger isn't healing it does suggest he isn't forming new bone well - although I understand that the term osteopenia isn't usually used in children.

    Was he premature? Osteopenia is common in preemies but there are also some illnesses that can cause reduce bone density so he really should be investigated. 

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    • Posted

      He wasn't premature. He was always sick as an infant/toddler. At one point he stopped growing for a year. He was and still is followed by immunology. However he has a new immunologist that is passive of any questions or concerns I have. 

      My son also has a dark line under his fingernail that has been there for a long time, at least a year. 

      I've actually been thinking about finding him a new team of doctors. I just don't want to start over. 

      Maybe I'm overthinking it all but it's hard not to worry. 

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    • Posted

      I know the feeling about not wanting to start all over again - but I think you need to find more active participant in caring for your little boy than his current immunologist. 

      If it were me I'd start with the dark mark under his nail - what does it look like? Just one fingernail? Show it to your family doctor and be insistent about checking it out.  And talk to the orthopaedic people looking after his broken finger. I'm assuming you are in the US as you talk about finding a new team of doctors?

      Good luck.


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    • Posted

      I would definitely follow up on the dark line on your son's nail, it may just have been caused by damage of some sort, but it is better to be safe than sorry. What colour us it?
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