Low bone mineral density, or BMD, was evident in around half of the 144 participants with inflammatory bowel disease aged between six and 19 in a major study in western Sweden. Disturbed development of BMD during childhood and adolescence may increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life and thus the likelihood of fractures.
“We investigated the children’s biological parents and measured their BMD,” says Schmidt. “We found a clear correlation between the parents’ and the children’s BMD. Where both parents had a low BMD, a child was six times more likely to have a low BMD too. A similar correlation has previously been described in healthy children and their parents.”
However, the researchers saw that after two years the BMD of the oldest patients was showing signs of recovery, which will be investigated more closely in a follow-up study.
According to Schmidt there have, to date, been neither international nor national guidelines for monitoring BMD in children and teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease. She therefore sees a need to introduce checks on BMD, particularly in those patients with risk factors, such as more active disease, low body mass index or parents with a known low BMD.
“The results of the study also underline the importance of optimising the treatment of these patients to minimise the inflammation which is partly behind the low BMD.”
Doctoral thesis for the degree of PhD (Medicine) at the Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg (Sweden).
Title of thesis: Bone mineral density in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease
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