What is Osteomalacia
Osteomalacia is a softening of bone, especially bone which weakened by demineralization (the loss of mineral) and most notably by the depletion of calcium from bone. It may be caused by junk or poor dietary intake or poor absorption of calcium and other minerals needed to harden bones. Osteomalacia is a characteristic feature of vitamin D deficiency in adults.
The common treatment of osteomalacia can be a dietary change. Hormone supplements may also be helpful for post-menopausal women.
Signs and symptoms
You may not notice any symptoms of osteomalacia at its early stage of developing, but signs of osteomalacia may be apparent on X-ray pictures or other diagnostic tests. As osteomalacia worsens, you may experience bone pain and muscle weakness.
The dull, aching pain associated with osteomalacia most commonly affects the:
- Lower spine
Osteomalacia may result in:
- Decreased muscle tone
- Weakness in your arms and legs
- Reduced ability to get around
- A waddling gait
People who have osteomalacia, may have more risk of fractures. Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone. These can often be the cause of bone pain and can lead to complete fractures
If here is a very low level of calcium in your blood, hypocalcaemia can be developed easily. If this is left untreated, it can affect your brain and cause confusion, memory loss, depression or hallucinations. The symptoms of extreme hypocalcaemia include:
- muscle aches
- tingling in your hands and feet
- muscle twitches
- difficulty breathing (this is caused by spasms of the muscles in your throat)
- an abnormal heart rhythm
Osteomalacia may cause in persons softer bones and may have a normal amount of collagen, which gives the bones its structure, but lack the proper amount of calcium.
There are numerous causes of osteomalacia. This condition in children called rickets and is usually caused by low levels of vitamin D.
Other conditions that may lead to osteomalacia include:
- Not enough vitamin D in the diet
- Not enough exposure to sunlight, which produces vitamin D in the body
- Malabsorption of vitamin D by the intestines
Other conditions that may cause osteomalacia include:
- Hereditary or acquired disorders of vitamin D metabolism
- Kidney failure and acidosis
- Liver disease
- Phosphate depletion associated with not enough phosphates in the diet
A diet rich in vitamin D and getting plenty of sunlight can be the prevention of osteomalacia due to a vitamin D deficiency.
The recommended treatment may include vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus supplements, taken by mouth. Larger doses of vitamin D and calcium may be needed for people who cannot properly absorb nutrients into the intestines.
You may need regular blood tests to monitor blood levels of phosphorus and calcium in persons with certain underlying conditions.