image of boy drinking a glass of water

Kidney Health: How the Kidneys Contribute to Strong Bones

The kidneys are very busy organs. They are responsible for the body’s fluids, red blood cells and for clearing out waste products. They also help keep minerals and nutrients in working order, especially calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. The body’s minerals become disorganized when the kidneys stop working normally and that leads to problems with bone development as well as the heart and blood vessels.

Factors that affect the process of bone growth and mineralization include:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Chronic illness
  • Medications
  • Vitamins and minerals

Getting help at a metabolic bone clinic

A visit to a metabolic bone clinic may include a detailed family and patient history that will be reviewed with a doctor and laboratory evaluation to identify any nutritional, hormonal, or metabolic abnormalities. Assessment of bone mineral density (BMD) using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans may also be done.

Along with lab testing, your child may get comprehensive genetic counseling and evaluation for metabolic bone disease that runs in the family, nutrition assessments and discussion of treatments, including intravenous (I.V.) or oral medication. Patients should also consult with a dentist if they receive certain bone density medications.

Common conditions treated:

Once considered a disease primarily affecting postmenopausal women, Osteopenia/Osteoporosis can be a primary problem for children. It can also be a secondary issue to other disorders, including:

  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease/malabsorption
  • Rheumatologic disease
  • Pediatric Cancer
  • Rickets/Vitamin D deficiency
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Immobilization
  • Chronic steroid use

Building strong bones is one of the most important things we do as we grow up. To keep our bodies growing and moving we need to keep our bones happy. The process of building strong bones is like building a house. We need lots of tools and equipment. A plan. There are several things we can do to keep our kidneys healthy. A few easy ways to reduce risk of developing kidney problems include the following:

  • Maintain healthy diet and daily physical activity
  • Monitor your blood sugar levels and minimize salt intake
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
  • Maintain a normal blood pressure
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Maintain regular visits to your primary care doctor

A visit to the Metabolic Bone Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital helps bring all those tools together. For more information, or to request an appointment, click here.

Rose Ayoob, MD
Rose M. Ayoob, MD, is a pediatric nephrologist at Nationwide Children’s and medical director of the Dialysis Program. She is also on the faculty for the 22q Center. She is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Ayoob attended the West Virginia University School of Medicine and went to Marshall University for her bachelor’s degree. She completed her pediatric residency at the Charleston Area Medical Center, West Virginia, and her pediatric nephrology fellowship at Nationwide Children’s. Dr. Ayoob’s clinical interests include pediatric dialysis and metabolic bone disease.

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