Stories

Conditions we treat: Brittle bone disease





Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), otherwise known as brittle bone disease, is a condition that affects the body’s ability to make collagen and strengthen the bones. Bone fractures can easily occur with the mildest trauma without adequate collagen levels. Children who present with brittle bone disease typically have fragile bones accompanied by short stature.

In 2013, one-year-old Ryan from Kenya came to CURE International seeking help. His mother knew that her baby’s discontent was unusual, so she decided to bring him to CURE Kenya and seek help. After reviewing x-rays of Ryan’s bones, the doctors found that a few of his bones had fractured and had not healed correctly. They determined that Ryan suffered from brittle bone disease, a hereditary and genetic disorder.
Because brittle bone disease is a chronic condition that can only be treated and not fully cured, Ryan has been a frequent patient at CURE Kenya throughout his life. Yet, despite his condition, he is now nine years old and full of life!

Ryan, after treatments at CURE Kenya, is helping his mom more now at home and looking forward to going to school.

According to the National Organization of Rare Diseases, approximately 20,000 – 50,000 people in the United States live with brittle bone disease. In Africa, one out of 100,000 children is born with the condition. Using the medical charts of patients admitted and research done at CURE Kenya published in the East African Orthopaedic Journal, CURE determined brittle bone disease is common. It constitutes 2% of all cases seen at the hospital.   

Although there are various methods of treating this condition, there is no way to prevent brittle bone disease. One approach is bracing to control bowed legs, a side effect of the disease. When identified early, bowed legs are easy to manage. The second method is surgery. Inserting a metal rod in the legs helps reduce the number of fractures.

It is rare to find children who can benefit from bracing because brittle bones are usually diagnosed after five years old. Furthermore, the treatment process can become very tedious, and parents often grow impatient. 

The spiritual ministry offered at the hospital helps parents realize their child’s specific needs and provides ways to prepare for challenging situations as they arise. “Ryan and his mother had come a long way, hoping things would be different through ups and downs and their lowest moments. Ryan now says that he has accepted, adjusted, and adapted to living with his condition and is very grateful that God opened the door to CURE.” Pastor Peter explained.

One of the beautiful things about CURE is that it allows everyone to participate in the transforming surgeries at the hospitals. You’re not required to understand words like bilateral, ventricle, genu valgum, congenital, or cerebral-spinal fluid to take part in the life-changing and life-saving work that is done. However, understanding the conditions CURE treats allows a deeper appreciation of just how important your donation is!

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