Diet & Nutrition

Osteomalacia

Osteomalacia is a condition where the bones become softer weaker due to deficiency of vitamin D. When bones get’s weakened, it is most likely to get fractured or broken, causing more trouble to the person. Osteomalacia is different from osteoporosis, another bone disorder where the formed or healthy bone gets weakened . The condition is treated by giving the right amount of vitamin supplements, phosphate and calcium to strengthen the bones.

Causes and symptoms

The main cause of osteomalacia is the lack of vitamin D, which is a vital nutrient that assist the body to absorb calcium and maintain phosphate and calcium levels in the proper formation of bones. Lack of sunlight exposure is another reason of deficiency of this nutrient.

Furthermore, certain surgical procedures such as gastrectomy where removal of bypassing of small intestine has been performed can result in vitamin D deficiency causing osteomalacia. Celiac disease, improper diet, liver or kidney disorders and consumption of drugs to cure seizures can also cause osteomalacia.

Below are mentioned some of the most common symptoms of osteomalacia:

  • Easily fractured bones

  • Increased bone pain that gets worse at night

  • Muscle pain and weakness

  • Dull pain that spreads to your legs, pelvic area, ribs and lower back.

  • Abnormal heartbeat

  • Numbness around the mouth

  • Tingling and numbing sensation in arms and legs

  • Spasms in feet and hands

Diagnosis

After examining your symptoms thoroughly, the doctor can perform several tests to find out the exact cause. This includes:

  • Blood tests to find out the level of Vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium

  • X-rays to see any cracks, injuries or fracture in the bones

  • Urine tests

  • Bone biopsy

Other imaging tests may also be performed in order to find out other health conditions that are responsible for the symptoms.

Once the doctor confirms you are diagnosed with osteomalacia, necessary steps will be taken to prevent it from advancing.

Treatment

Treatment of osteomalacia totally depends on the severity of the condition. If the diagnosis is done at an early stage, the treatment would be as simple as providing vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus supplements. This could be the initial treatment if you have trouble digesting your food due to injury in the intestine or surgeries. In very rare cases, you will be vitamin D injection through a vein in your arm.

You will be asked to spend time in sunlight for filling the deficiency of vitamin D. If you are suffering from any liver or kidney disorders, the doctor will take steps to treat those conditions in order to reduce osteomalacia symptoms.

In severe cases of this condition, the patient may require to wear braces or undergo a surgical procedure to fix bone deformation. The treatment of osteomalacia continues for several months, until you are relieved from bone pain. During the treatment, you will have to follow a nutritional diet filled with vitamin D.

Complications

There are hardly any complications associated while treating osteomalacia at an early or mid stage. However, there might be some complications if the condition has advanced to a great extent. Below are mentioned some common side effects of the treatment.

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Sleepiness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Metallic taste

  • Headache

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Kidney disease

  • Atherosclerosis (High level of vitamin D)

  • Histoplasmosis (High level of calcium)

  • Tuberculosis

  • Lymphoma



Post treatment care

Recovery from osteomalacia completely depends on how well the patient follows the prescriptions and guidelines given by the physicist.

It is expected of the patient to take prescriptions as described.

Spending time outdoors in sunlight exposure is necessary to increase the Vitamin D level.

Eat vitamin D rich food such as dairy products, fish, egg yolk, meat, etc.

The full recovery of the bone takes about 6 months, hence follow the treatment effectively until your weakened bone is entirely fixed.

Consult with your doctor if you experience any complications.