Bone Density in Williams Syndrome

Doctors are just starting to learn that bone density might be somewhat lower than expected in people with WS. However, doctors are not sure if fractures are more common in WS than in the general population. Doctors usually recommend monitoring bone density in adults with WS. This is usually done through a bone density scan, also called a DXA scan. This is a painless scan that is like an X-ray.

Strategies that can help improve bone density are:

  • Physical activity, especially any weight-bearing activities help strengthen bones.
  • Having a normal amount of calcium and vitamin D in the diet. If someone with WS has high calcium levels, it could be necessary to lower calcium and maybe vitamin D intake temporarily. These should go back to normal levels as the problem resolves. Doctors do not recommend that people with WS restrict calcium or vitamin D in their diet.
  • Vitamin D supplementation done slowly with periodic blood work to check that calcium levels stay normal. Many people with WS have low vitamin D levels.

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Rev. 8/2019. Mass General for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.