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What Are the Causes of Osteomalacia?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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There are a variety of potential causes of osteomalacia, all of which result in a deficiency of vitamin D in the body. Some of the causes may include malabsorption syndrome, kidney failure, or celiac disease. Additional causes of osteomalacia include the use of certain drugs or some surgical procedures. In some cases, not getting enough sunlight or not consuming enough vitamin D can be enough to lead to this condition. Any questions or concerns about specific causes of osteomalacia in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Osteomalacia may occur if there is not enough calcium and phosphorous in the body. This may occur from a mineral deficiency but is most commonly caused by a malabsorption issue or a vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight helps the skin to produce vitamin D, so if a person does not spend an adequate amount of time in the sun, a vitamin supplement becomes necessary. Foods such as dairy products often contain vitamin D, although nutritional supplements are also available. Symptoms of osteomalacia may include bone pain and muscle weakness, although some people do not experience any specific symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease process.

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Malabsorption syndrome may prevent the body from properly absorbing nutrients, even when the ideal amounts are being consumed. This condition often occurs as a result of the body not producing enough digestive enzymes or may indicate a problem with any one of the various digestive organs. Abdominal bloating, diarrhea, and anemia are all potential symptoms of malabsorption syndrome. Treatment varies according to the individual situation and may include nutritional therapy, fluid replacement, or the use of prescription medications.

Celiac disease is one of the more common causes of osteomalacia. This is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine in which the patient cannot tolerate foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Eliminating these foods may help to control unpleasant symptoms and prevent osteomalacia from occurring.

Additional causes of osteomalacia may include the use of certain medications or surgical procedures. Medications that are designed to treat seizure disorders are particularly prone to causing this condition. Surgical procedures such as removal of a portion of the stomach or small intestine are common causes of osteomalacia. Patients who experience a significant loss of kidney or liver function may be at an increased risk of developing osteomalacia.

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