What is Osteomalacia


They are many instances in which if children and adults don’t get the proper daily nutrients then certain illnesses can occur. These illnesses can become fatal if medical attention is not sought out, and treatments given.

Osteomalacia is a disease that involves the softening of the bones caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D or problems with the metabolism of Vitamin D. Osteoid is a bone protein, that is composed primarily of a type 1 collagen. When there is insufficient amount of this mineral, the osteoid does not mineralize properly and it accumulates. Cases of osteomalacia are directly related to issues with Vitamin D.

Who can get it?

If the newly formed bone of the growth plate does not mineralize, the growth plate becomes thick, wide and deformed. This is only in children because adults don’t have growth plates. When the remodeling bone does not mineralize, then osteomalacia occurs.

What causes it?

They are many causes of osteomalacia. In children, Rickets is usually the cause of this condition, which results from a deficiency in Vitamin D. Other conditions that may lead to osteomalacia are: an inadequate intake of Vitamin D, not enough exposure to sunlight, which the helps to produce Vitamin D in the body, and a malabsorption of Vitamin D by the intestines. Osteomalacia can also be caused by kidney failure and acidosis, phosphate depletion, kidney disease or cancer, side effects of medications and it can also be hereditary.

How does it happen?

Osteomalacia is a condition that involves the softening of the bones. This softening of the bones is a direct result of the body not receiving an adequate amount of Vitamin D or a problem with the metabolism of the vitamin.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms associated with Osteomalacia include diffuse bone pain, especially in the pelvic area, muscle weakness; bone fractures that happen with just minimal contact. Other symptoms include numbness around the mouth, numbness in the arms and legs, spasms of the hands and feet, and an abnormal heart rate.

How can it be diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose Osteomalacia in a couple of ways. First a bone biopsy will be done to show the signs of the aliment. Tests will be done to check to see what the individual’s serum level of Vitamin D is, also the will check the calcium and phosphate levels. A bone X-Ray may also be conducted to look for signs of Osteomalacia. Also, a bone mineral density scan might be conduced to show the reduced amount of bone mineral density. Additional tests may be done to determine if renal problems or any other types of disorders might be causing the Osteomalacia.

What treatments are available?

Treatment of this ailment usually involves the individual taking oral supplements of Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus depending of what the underlying cause of the illness is. It is also advised that the person get exposure to sunlight. The individual may also take cod liver oil, halibut-liver oil and viosterol as other ways to increase the intake of Vitamin D into the system. Individuals with intestinal malabsorption may have to take larger doses of Vitamin D and calcium. It is recommended that infants and children get at least 200 international units of Vitamin D a day. This includes getting it from formulas and milk products. If an individual is lactose intolerant they will also have to make sure that they get additional Vitamin D supplements into their diet. Once treatment has been started improvement can sometimes be seen in a matter of a couple of weeks. Complete healing of bone fractures and other deformities may take up to six months to see. In some individuals there is a slight recurrence of the symptoms. In some severe cases, orthopedic surgery is sometimes necessary to correct some of the problems that developed due to Osteomalacia.

Osteomalacia is an illness that can be prevented. With an the proper intake of dairy products that are rich in Vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight an individual can prevent the Osteomalacia. It is important to recognize the symptoms of this illness and meet with your doctor as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is started, the better the prognosis will be.

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