Osteomalacia diagnosis - Soft bones

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The diagnosis of osteomalacia (soft bones) is by visual observations, laboratory tests, radiography and biopsy.

Diagnosis of osteomalacia (soft bones) by visual observation

Osteomalacia starts as pain in the lower back and thighs and spreads to legs, arms and ribs.
The affected person appears weak and has difficulty even in walking.
He may have waddling gait. He may have 'swayback' appearance.
He may complain of pain all over the body and especially in limbs. The pain increases in shocks and on pressure.
He has pain in the back, hips and the long limbs. He complains of muscle weakness.
He may have fractures without any fall or known reason.
Young adults may show slight bowing of long limbs.
The patient may have tetany, spasms, numbness in the limbs and abnormal heart beats.
All these observed signs help in the differentiating osteomalacia from other conditions.

Laboratory procedures

The serum calcium is lower than the required level (hypocalcemia).
Phosphorus serum levels will be low (hypophosphatemia).
Serum alkaline phosphate and PTH (parathyroid hormone) will be elevated than the normal level.
Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D will be low.
Urine calcium will be low.
Urine 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels will be low.

Radiography procedures for osteomalacia bones

Radiography of the affected skeletal areas show deformity.
Partial fractures are seen on the soft bones.
Radiographs of the affected limbs show pseudofractures of bones (Loser's zones or Milkman syndrome).
Protrusio acetabuli (the socket protruding into pelvis) condition may appear restricting the movement of hip joint.
In diagnosis, radiography further shows osteopenia of bones wherein the mineral density is lower than the normal.
Vertebral compression fractures may be present.

Biopsy for diagnosis of osteomalacia

Biopsy of the soft bones shows increased osteoid and lowered calcifying mineral.
Once the ailment shows up as osteomalacia in the diagnosis, the patient is given required treatments to bring him back to normalcy.

Related topics:
Osteomalacia (soft bones).
Rickets in children.

Current topic:
Soft bones and diagnosis of osteomalacia.

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