Definition of Osteomalacia
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.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
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.
Signs and tests
Blood tests will be done to check vitamin D, creatinine, calcium, and phosphate levels.
Treatment may involve 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.
Improvement can be seen within a few weeks in some people with vitamin deficiency disorders. Complete healing with treatment takes place in 6 months.
Ari S. Eckman, MD, Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/31/2010