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Osteomalacia
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Know Everything About Osteomalacia Symptoms

Rahil, in his 40s, was acutely suffering from issues like pain in the hips and bones, fractures of the bones and also weakness in the muscles. He ultimately found that he was having issues walking. This made him consult the family physician who referred him to a leading orthopedic specialist. He ultimately found out that he had what were called osteomalacia symptoms. After looking at his family medical history, the doctor concluded that he had inherited it genetically.

What is Osteomalacia?

Before knowing more about the osteomalacia symptoms, you should always know more about the basic condition itself. Osteomalacia is also referred to as soft bones. It happens due to severe Vitamin D deficiencies. Maintaining suitable calcium and Vitamin D levels is also crucial for ensuring good bone health in the future. This disease leads to a gradual weakening of the bones, leading to frequent and easier breakage simultaneously.

This disorder results from lower mineralization, leading to faster breakdowns of the bones as compared to its re-forming abilities. The condition is often witnessed in adults while lower Vitamin D concentration in children may lead to rickets as well. 

Osteomalacia Symptoms and Reasons

There are many osteomalacia signs and symptoms that you should always be alert about. There are signs of osteomalacia that we often neglect or which go unnoticed due to various reasons, delaying osteomalacia prognosis and treatment.

1. Vitamin D Deficiency

This disease happens due to Vitamin D deficiencies. This happens mostly due to the lack of proper sunlight exposure and also owing to kidney/digestive ailments.

Vitamin D is vital for the proper absorption of calcium and also for the maintenance of bone health at the same time. These disorders may hinder the ability of your body to absorb vitamins smoothly. There are several rare genetic issues that may lead to osteomalacia too. 

Symptoms include severe pain in the bones, hips and other body parts. There are other signs including walking issues and weakness in the muscles along with bone fractures. Those living in areas with low sun exposure have risks of this disease along with those who consume diets low in Vitamin D.

2. Side-Effects of Surgeries

In case of specific surgeries, there could be higher risks of the condition. The stomach usually breaks down food items for the release of calcium and minerals which get absorbed within the intestine. This procedure is interrupted if there is surgery for removal of any part of the stomach or avoiding the small intestine. It may lead to severe calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies alike.

3. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is another disease of the auto-immune variety where items with gluten (protein contained in barley, wheat and rye) may end up damaging the small intestine lining. This leads to improper nutrient absorption and possible calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies.

4. Liver or Kidney Disorders

Liver or kidney ailments may also lead to the condition since they hinder the ability of the body to create Vitamin D actively. Some medication may also have unwanted effects on the body, leading to osteomalacia. The risks are also high for those who are older, hospitalized, home-bound and those with limited exposure to sunlight.

Testing and Diagnosis

Osteomalacia is diagnosed through several types of tests. They include X-rays for witnessing any visible signs and also the bone mineral density scan which may help in analyzing the calcium and other mineral counts in the bone segment of any individual. These may be required by the doctor although they are not compulsory for osteomalacia diagnosis. The lower Vitamin D level is the biggest and first indicator along with lower calcium or rapidly dropping phosphate counts. Bone biopsies are rarely needed where bone tissue samples are examined by the doctors. 

Osteomalacia is treated through the consumption of calcium, Vitamin D and phosphate supplements in most cases. For example, those with a condition known as intestinal malabsorption will possibly require higher amounts of calcium and Vitamin D alike. Other treatment types include using braces for combating/lowering irregularities of the bones and surgeries for correction of bone-based deformities. Getting more exposure to sunlight is also recommended by doctors in such cases. 

Possible Complications and Preventing the Condition

The complications are basically breakage of bones more frequently, especially in the spine, ribs and legs. Osteomalacia that happens due to lower exposure to sunlight or Vitamin D dietary deficiencies are sometimes preventable. What you should do is consume food items with higher Vitamin D content including oily fish varieties like mackerel, salmon and even sardines for example. You can also consume egg yolks in this regard along with choosing items which are vitamin-D fortified like bread, cereal, yogurt and milk for instance. 

You should consume supplements only when required, especially if they have been recommended by your doctor and you do not consume sufficient minerals/vitamins regularly. If you have a medical ailment which prevents suitable nutrient absorption by the digestive system, then you can also consider supplements upon your doctor’s advice. 

At the same time, you should remember that unwarranted exposure to sunlight may lead to higher skin cancer risks. You should be careful about the amount of exposure you are getting in order to prevent the condition or treat it carefully. Take your doctor’s advice in this regard. 

FAQs

What are some items that are rich in Vitamin D? 

You can correct Vitamin D deficiencies by consuming more oily fishes. These include salmon, mackerel and sardines to name a few. You can also consume egg yolks regularly along with bread, yogurt, milk and also cereal. 

What are some common treatments for osteomalacia? 

Some common treatments may include supplementation on a regular basis as per the doctor’s guidelines. You may also be given braces or advised surgery for correcting deformities in the bones. You may also have to get more sunlight exposure regularly. 

What are some reasons for osteomalacia? 

Some of the biggest reasons include deficiencies in Vitamin D, either due to lower exposure to sunlight or due to insufficient consumption of the same in one’s daily diet. Some other reasons include specific medication, stomach surgeries, liver or kidney disorders and more. 

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