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Brittle Bones: Study finds kids with celiac have low bone mineral levels

Posted Feb 02 2009 10:50pm

My mom and I both have celiac disease. And like many of you reading this blog post, we've both experienced a number of celiac-related complications. The most debilitating for my mom has been her NessMom struggle with osteoporosis.

My mom eats calcium constantly. She is always drinking milk, eating yogurt and cheese and doing everything she can to up her calcium levels, including taking Boniva. But 45 years of having undiagnosed celiac disease has left her with bones like a 90 year old...and believe me...she is nowhere near 90 years old. Lets just say she's at least 30 years away from that and even with her brittle bones,  she is still energetic, gorgeous and the coolest mom ever!!

Nonetheless, every time my mom goes to her doctor, she leaves saying how much she wishes she had found out about celiac earlier in life so she could prevent the ever aching bones and fear of what will happen to her body as she ages.

Hopefully as we learn more about celiac disease, doctors will be able to diagnose children earlier and conduct routine screening for bone density problems to prevent kids from growing up with brittle bones. And, the good news today is that thanks to new research, we may have evidence to suggest why doctors should in fact be screening their patients for low bone mineral content.

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition finds that children diagnosed with celiac disease should be screened for low bone mineral content, largely because these kids are at risk of developing early osteopenia.

Researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia evaluated 44 children with celiac disease and 338 healthy kids. The compared the results of bone mineral tests and found that kids with celiac disease had significantly lower levels of bone mineral content than their healthy counterparts.

So what's the moral of the story? The researchers suggest that newly diagnosed children with celiac disease could benefit from screening for low bone mineral content, especially if they have a low body mass index. Parents...if your kids have celiac, get them screened!

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