Osteomalacia: The Vitamin D Deficiency Disease

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Vitamin D, commonly called the sunshine vitamin is responsible for the absorption of vital elements including Calcium that is an integral component of bone formation. Deficiency of Vitamin D due to low sun exposure or lack of Vitamin D in food leads to various diseases like Osteomalacia, also called the bones softening disease. It is a disorder that leads to weakening, bending, and bone breaking. In children and young adults, it results in bowing especially in bones that bear weight (legs). In older people, it can lead to fractures. Read on further to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for Osteomalacia with special reference to vitamin D food.

Causes:

1. Deficiency of Vitamin D:

Osteomalacia is caused mostly due to vitamin D deficiency from food or often from not getting enough exposure to sunlight. The body uses calcium and phosphate to make strong bones. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium; hence, a defect arises in the bone-maturing process.

 

2. Surgeries:

Certain stomach surgeries or bypasses result in dysfunction in the breaking down of food to release calcium and other minerals that are further absorbed by the intestine.

 

3. Liver or Kidney Problems:

Irregular kidney or liver function can result in the inactivation of vitamin D which can result in osteomalacia.

Symptoms:

The symptoms are not very prominent in the early stages; however, as the disease progresses the following symptoms can be observed:

  1. Muscle pain and weakness after exercise
  2. Bones in the hips, lower back, and feet break off easily
  3. Aggravated pain felt in bones and joints
  4. Due to low calcium levels, needles and pins can be felt in the hands
  5. Problem while walking and frequent muscle cramps

Treatment:

1. Getting Enough Sun Exposure:

The body produces vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to sunlight. 10-15 minutes of daily sun exposure on arms, legs, hands, and other areas without any sunscreen would lead to sufficient vitamin D production in the body, aiding in osteomalacia prevention.

 

2. Intake of Vitamin D Foods:

If proper sun exposure is difficult in areas that you live, then supplement your diet with vitamin D food such as fortified butter, cereals, and spreads; egg yolk, meat, and oily fish. Additionally, take vitamin D supplements if necessary.

3. Calcium-rich Diet:

Calcium-rich foods like milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, tofu, soybean, and fish enrich the level of calcium in the body which in turn, helps in rebuilding bones and maintaining bone health.