Osteomalacia: Background, Physiology, Treatment, and Impact
Vitamin intake is a commonly overlooked necessity in basic nutritional health. What most people do not know is that certain vitamin deficiencies can cause many health risks and problems. Many people believe that are getting all the vitamins they need from their diet, however most of the time they are not. One of the most common vitamin deficiencies is the low intake of Vitamin D. There are some vitamins that are produced by the body such as vitamin K; however some of the most important vitamins are not produced by the body. Vitamin D is one of the vitamins that our body needs to function correctly that is not naturally produced by the body. Vitamin D can be consumed through diet or when cholesterol in our skin is exposed to sunlight. In some cases, there is a problem with the body’s ability to break down and use this vitamin ("Osteomalacia," 2010). Whether it’s a low intake or system malfunction vitamin D deficiency can cause many problems. One of the most common vitamin D deficiency diseases is Osteomalacia. Osteomalacia can be treated and kept under control if caught early, however it can cause many future problems if not caught in time.
“Osteomalacia is a metabolic disease characterized by inadequate and delayed mineralization of osteoid in mature compact and spongy bone” (Huether & McCance, 2008). The bone volume remains the same in growth; however the replaced bone is soft osteoid rather than rigid bone (Huether & McCance, 2008). In simpler terms, “Osteomalacia refers to the softening of the bones due to a vitamin D deficiency” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2011). In children, this disease is referred to as rickets. “Both Osteomalacia and rickets are considered rare in the United States because of the addition of synthetic vitamin D to dairy products and bread” (Huether and McCance). Such diseases are more common in areas such as Great Britain, Pakistan, and India (Huether & McCance, 2008). “This disease is prevalent in elderly persons and in premature infants of very low birth weight” (Huether & McCance, 2008). Commonly Osteomalacia is confused with Osteoporosis. However, these two diseases, although similar, are not the same. “Osteomalacia results from a defect in the bone-building process, while osteoporosis develops due to a weakening of the previously constructed bone” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2011).
There are numerous factors that contribute to the development of this horrible disease, but the most important factor is vitamin D deficiency. When the minerals in osteoid crystallize, they require adequate concentration of calcium and phosphate. When the concentration is not at the correct level, ossification does not proceed normally (Huether & McCance, 2008). Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium from the intestine. When there is a lack of vitamin D, the concentration of calcium begins to fall (Huether & McCance, 2008). The body begins to regulate this...