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Osteomalacia is softening of the bones due to a lack of vitamin D or a problem with the body's ability to break down and use this vitamin.
Complications of Osteomalacia
If you have osteomalacia, you're more likely to experience broken bones, particularly in your ribs, spine and legs.
Causes of Osteomalacia
The softer bones seen in persons with osteomalacia 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. In children, the condition is called rickets and is usually caused by low levels of vitamin D.
Other conditions that may lead to osteomalacia include:
Use of very strong sunscreen, limited exposure of the body to sunlight, short days of sunlight and smog are factors that reduce formation of vitamin D in the body. The elderly and those who avoid drinking milk are at increased risk for osteomalacia.
Other conditions that may cause osteomalacia include:
Signs & Symptoms of Osteomalacia
In the early stages, you may have no osteomalacia symptoms, although 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:
Osteomalacia may result in:
Diagnosis of Osteomalacia
In order to pinpoint the underlying cause of osteomalacia and to rule out other bone disorders, such as osteoporosis, you may undergo one or more of the following tests:
Treatments of Osteomalacia
Prevention of Osteomalacia
Osteomalacia caused by inadequate sun exposure or a diet low in vitamin D often can be prevented. Here are a few suggestions to help reduce your risk of developing osteomalacia:
When to seek Medical Advice
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of osteomalacia, or if you think that you may be at risk for this disorder.
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