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What is osteomalacia?

Osteomalacia involves softening of the bones caused by a deficiency of vitamin D or problems with the metabolism of this vitamin. Osteomalacia means soft bones. Like osteoporosis, osteomalacia weakens the bones and makes bones more likely to break. However, the process is different from that in osteoporosis. In osteoporosis, bone is broken down faster than it is re-formed. In osteomalacia, the two activities are balanced, but the bone that is formed does not become dense and hard (mineralized). Among older people, osteomalacia is much less common than osteoporosis. Osteomalacia may be caused by 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. Symptoms of osteomalacia include weakness, lack of appetite, weight loss, pain, and bones that fracture easily. The treatment of osteomalacia is by dietary change. Hormone supplements may also be helpful for post-menopausal women.

More information on osteomalacia

What is osteomalacia? - Osteomalacia involves softening of the bones caused by a deficiency of vitamin D or problems with the metabolism of this vitamin.
What causes osteomalacia? - Osteomalacia is caused by not getting enough vitamin D (vitamin D deficiency). A deficiency in vitamin D leads to the loss of calcium and phosphorus.
What're the symptoms of osteomalacia? - Osteomalacia causes fatigue and pain in the back, ribs, and hips. People with osteomalacia may have trouble getting up from a chair or climbing steps.
How is osteomalacia diagnosed? - Doctors diagnose osteomalacia with blood tests, x-rays, and sometimes a biopsy. Blood tests also help to make the diagnosis.
What's the treatment for osteomalacia? - Oral supplements of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus may be given to treat osteomalacia depending on the underlying cause of the disorder.
Bone, joint, & muscle disorders

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