Osteomalacia is the softening of the bones due to defective bone mineralization. Osteomalacia in children is known as rickets, and because of this, use of the term osteomalacia is often restricted to the milder, adult form of the disease. It may show signs as diffuse body pains, muscle weakness, and fragility of the bones. A common cause of the disease is a deficiency in vitamin D, which is normally obtained from the diet and/or sunlight exposure.
Osteomalacia in the adult is most commonly found in confined, dark-skinned, or diet-disbalanced subjects. Many of the effects of the disease overlap with the more common osteoporosis, but the two diseases are significantly different. Osteomalacia is specifically a defect in mineralization of the protein framework known as osteoid. This defective mineralization is mainly caused by lack of vitamin D, or faulty bodily utilization of vitamin D.
Osteomalacia is derived from Greek: osteo- means "bone", and malacia means "softness". In the past, the disease was also known as malacosteon and its Latin-derived equivalent, mollities ossium.
The causes of adult osteomalacia are varied, but ultimately result in a vitamin D deficiency:
* Insufficient sunlight exposure, especially in dark-skinned subjects
* Insufficient nutritional quantities or faulty metabolism of vitamin D or phosphorus
* Renal tubular acidosis
* Malnutrition during pregnancy
* Malabsorption syndrome
* Chronic renal failure
* Tumor-induced osteomalacia
* Long-term anticonvulsant therapy
* Coeliac disease
Read : Osteomalasia
Source : wikipedia