Osteomalacia is a general term for conditions where the bones become softened through demineralization or deficiencies of phosphorus or calcium or vitamin D.
Some causes of adult osteomalacia:
- Insufficient sunlight exposure, especially in dark-skinned subjects (decreasing the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D)
- Insufficient nutritional quantities or faulty metabolism of vitamin D or phosphorus (another mineral needed for efficient bone maintenance)
- Renal tubular acidosis (resulting in levels of needed minerals for bone maintanence are not maintained within the body)
- Malnutrition during pregnancy (resulting in minerals needed by the developing fetus are leeched from the mother’s skeleton)
- Malabsorption syndrome (where absorption of minerals essential for bone maintenance are compromised atthe intestine )
- Tumor induced osteomalacia (where abnormal cancerous cells in the bones no longer function, or where their ability to perform needed bone maintanence is compromised)
- Therapy with Fumaderm (a drug with side affects on bone metabolism)
- Celiac disease (a condition of the intestine affecting nutrient absorption)
- Nutritional osteomalacia responds well to administration of vitamin D for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Osteomalacia due to malabsorption may require parenteral (IV) treatment
Dirckx, John H. 1997. Stedman’s concise medical dictionary for the health professions. 3rd ed. Baltimore, USA.