Osteomalacia vs Osteoporosis

Osteomalacia or rickets refers to a condition that is exhibited by the softening of bones due to lack of vitamin D or may be as a result of the failure of the body to use vitamin D. the two terms are same it is only that in adults this condition is referred to as osteomalacia whereas in children its referred as rickets. The bones of individuals suffering from this condition are usually characterized by sufficient amounts of collagen but lack proper quantities of calcium.

On the other hand osteoporosis refers to a condition whereby the bones are weak and have high chances of fracture if one falls. It is characterized by loss of bone tissue and low bone mass that usually results in weak and fragile bones. It mainly affects women on the onset of their menopausal stage. It also affects older men. This condition is different from osteomalacia in that the latter affects all ages irrespective of sex.

The two conditions also differ in terms of their causes. Oesteomalacia is caused by insufficient sunlight which is a source of vitamin D. Malabsorption of vitamin D from the intestines is also another cause of this condition as well as low intake of fish and fortified foods that are rich in vitamin D. There exist also other factors such as kidney failure and acidosis, cancer, side effects of some medications used to treat seizures, acquired disorders of Vitamin D metabolism and liver diseases. On the flipside, osteoporosis is hereditary and is dependent on gender to some extend.

The two conditions portray similar symptoms; bones may fracture easily and there is normally widespread bone pain especially in the hips coupled with muscle weakness. The low calcium levels in both cases also results in numbness in legs and arms, abnormal heart rhythms, spasms in feet and hands and numbness in the mouth.

When it comes to treatment cases of osteomalacia is treated through oral administration of vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium supplements. For those patients whose intestines cannot absorb nutrients properly they may require higher doses of the nutrients. On the other hand the prevention of osteoporosis just involves taking sufficient amounts of diet that has sufficient vitamin D levels.  A minimum of 1000mg to 1500 mg of calcium should also be taken on daily basis. Proper exercises especially those that are force-loading and exert weight on the bones is also prevention measure of osteoporosis.

The two conditions differ immensely when it comes to testing them. For instance, osteomalacia has many options, they include; ALP (alkaline phosphatase) and PTH tests usually used to determine kidney problems, blood tests for calcium, phosphate, vitamin D and Creatinine levels, bond biopsy to detect bone softening and bone density tests that normally detect bone softening, bone loss and fractures. Osteoporosis can only be detected using a bone scan. One cannot detect it by just looking at you physically or through the use of X-ray.

There should be no course for alarm when it comes to treatment of both cases but as you know prevention is better than cure, always employ preventive measures for both cases.

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