What is Osteomalacia?
Osteomalacia is a softening of the bones due to a lack of vitamin D or the body’s inability to break down and use this vitamin. The condition only affects adults. A similar condition that affects children is called rickets.
How common is Osteomalacia?
In the UK nearly half of all adults have a vitamin D level lower than it is thought necessary to protect against osteomalacia during winter and spring.
You are more likely to develop a vitamin D deficiency if you have darker skin, cover up with clothing, don’t spend much time outside, use too much sun cream, have a poor diet or are aged 65 or over.
What are the symptoms of Osteomalacia?
Symptoms of osteomalacia include bone fractures, muscle weakness, bone pain, especially in the hips. Symptoms of low calcium levels include abnormal heart rhythms, numbness of arms and legs and spasms of the hands or feet.
How is Osteomalacia treated?
The condition is treated with vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus supplements. Regular blood tests may be needed to monitor blood levels.
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