Bone Diseases

Bone diseases are generally caused by calcium deficiency. Bone diseases can make sufferers have difficulty undergoing daily activities. Therefore, early prevention needs to be done so that bones remain healthy and strong.

Bone is an important organ in the human body. Bone functions are as body support, a place to attach muscles to move, forming body posture, and protecting other organs in the body. In addition, bone also works to store minerals and produce blood cells.

3 Bone Diseases - Due to Calcium Deficiency & How to Prevent It

3 Bone Diseases Due to Calcium Deficiency

Bone density and health are greatly influenced by calcium levels. Therefore, lack of calcium intake can cause various kinds of bone diseases both in adults and children. The following are some types of bone diseases due to calcium deficiency that you need to recognize and be aware of.

1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition when bone density decreases. This causes the bones to become porous and break easily. Although commonly experienced by women who have entered menopause, this type of bone pain can also occur in men aged 65 years and over. Osteoporosis rarely causes symptoms and is usually only discovered when the sufferer falls or has an injury that causes a fracture.

Osteoporosis can be experienced by anyone, including children and adults. However, this condition is more common in women who have entered menopause. This is caused by reduced estrogen levels which play an important role in maintaining bone density.

Osteoporosis Symptoms

Osteoporosis often does not cause any symptoms. This condition is usually only discovered when someone has an injury that causes a fracture. As bone density decreases, osteoporosis sufferers may experience the following symptoms:

  • Easy to experience a broken bone, even if it is just a mild collision
  • Back pain, usually caused by a vertebral fracture
  • Slouching posture
  • Decreased height

Osteoporosis Causes and Risk Factors

Osteoporosis is caused by a decrease in the body’s ability to regenerate bone. This has an impact on reducing bone density. This decreased regeneration ability will usually begin when someone enters the age of 35 years.

Besides age, here are some other factors that can increase your risk of osteoporosis:

  • Female gender, especially after menopause
  • Having a family with a history of osteoporosis
  • Having calcium and vitamin D deficiency
  • Having hormonal disorders and certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or malabsorption
  • Consuming corticosteroid drugs for a long time
  • Addicted to alcohol
  • Smoking

Diagnosis of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often only detected when the sufferer has an injury that causes a broken bone. To diagnose osteoporosis, the doctor will conduct a question and answer about complaints and symptoms including medical history and medications consumed by the patient.

If the patient is injured and suspected of having a fracture, the doctor will do a physical examination first to determine the severity of the injury and fracture. After that, the doctor will do an X-ray or CT scan to clearly see the condition of the broken bone.

To confirm osteoporosis and determine the risk of a patient having a fracture, the doctor will measure bone density ( bone density testing ) using dual-energy X-Ray absorptiometry (DXA).

Osteoporosis Treatment

Treatment for this bone disease depends on the severity. If an osteoporosis sufferer is very at risk for a broken bone, the doctor can give medicines to increase bone density, such as:

  • Bisphosphonates
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Hormone Therapy

If needed, the sufferers can be given drugs that can increase bone formation, such as teriparatide and abaloparatide. Patients will also be advised to reduce activities that can cause them to fall or get injured.

2. Rickets

The second of 3 bone diseases due to calcium deficiency is Rickets. Rickets is a bone growth disorder in children caused by a deficiency of vitamin D. It can cause bones to become soft and brittle, so they break easily.

Vitamin D works to help the absorption of calcium and phosphate from food. Calcium and phosphate are minerals that are important for maintaining bone strength. If the body lacks vitamin D, calcium and phosphate levels in the bones will decrease. As a result, the bones will soften and brittle.

Rickets usually occurs in children aged 6 months to 3 years. Although it generally occurs in children, this bone disorder can also be experienced by adults. Rheumatism in adults is also called osteomalacia or soft bone disease.

3 Bone Diseases - Due to Calcium Deficiency & How to Prevent It

Rickets Symptoms

Rickets causes the child’s bones to become brittle which triggers abnormal bone growth. The rickets symptoms include:

  • Pain in the spine, leg bones, and pelvic bones.
  • Bone disorders, such as crooked legs or scoliosis.
  • Short body due to stunted growth in height.
  • Easy to experience fractures due to brittle bones.
  • Tooth abnormalities, such as slower tooth growth and easy cavities.

In some cases, children with rickets also lack calcium levels in the blood (hypocalcemia). These conditions make the symptoms worse and cause muscle cramps and tingling in the legs.

Rickets Causes and Risk Factors

Rickets occurs when the body does not get enough vitamin D or the body does not process vitamin D normally. Vitamin D is needed by the body to help absorb calcium and phosphate from food. Vitamin D deficiency will cause a disruption of calcium and phosphate absorption.

Vitamin D deficiency can occur due to skinless exposed to sunlight, lack of intake of foods rich in vitamin D such as fish oil and egg yolks, and impaired absorption of vitamin D. Impaired absorption of vitamin D can be caused by a number of the following conditions:

In rare cases, this malnutrition in children or adults can also be caused by genetic factors. This type of rickets called hypophosphatemic. It is caused by kidney disorders in absorbing phosphate. Babies born to mothers who lack vitamin D during pregnancy are more at risk of developing rickets. In addition, rickets is also more at risk for children who have the following conditions:

  • Dark skinned
  • Born prematurely
  • Do not get exclusive breastfeeding
  • Live in an area that lacks sunlight
  • Exposed to drugs, such as anti-seizure and antiviral drugs

Diagnosis of Rickets

To determine whether a child has rickets or not, the doctor will ask questions about the complaints and symptoms experienced by the child. Next, the doctor will do a physical examination. One of the tests that can be done is to do gentle pressure on the child’s bones, especially the skull bones, ribs, and bones in the legs and ankles.

If the child feels pain when the bone is pressed or the doctor suspects that there is an abnormality in the bone, the doctor will carry out further tests in the form of:

  • A blood test to measure calcium and phosphate levels.
  • X-ray or CT scan of the bone to see if there are bone deformities.
  • Bone tissue sampling (biopsy) for examination in the laboratory.

Rickets Treatment

Rickets treatment aims to increase the amount of vitamin D in a child’s body and relieve symptoms.

  • Dry the child in the sun regularly.
  • Provide children with foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as fish and eggs.
  • Provide calcium and vitamin D supplements if food intake is lacking.
  • Vitamin D injections every year, if the child cannot take supplements and suffer from liver disease or intestinal disease.

Keep in mind, the vitamin D needs of each child can be different. Therefore, supplementation must be adjusted to the daily needs of each child and must not exceed the maximum limit of vitamin intake to avoid an overdose.

If rickets causes bone abnormalities, the doctor will recommend using a buffer to support the growth of the child’s bones. If the bone abnormality is classified as severe, the doctor will perform surgery to repair the child’s bones.

Rickets Complications

If left untreated, rickets can cause complications in the form of:

  • Convulsions
  • Growth disturbance
  • Tooth Disorders
  • Bone pain
  • Bone disorders
  • Broken bones without cause
  • Spinal arch abnormalities

3. Osteomalacia

Osteomalacia is a condition in which bones cannot be hardened, so that very vulnerable for bent or even broken. This condition occurs due to lack of vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus which is needed for the hardening of the bones.  

Osteomalacia can be overcome by taking supplements that contain calcium or vitamin D. Osteomalacia sufferers are also encouraged to bask in the morning because sun exposure can help produce vitamin D in the body.


Osteomalacia Symptoms

Initially, osteomalacia sufferers do not feel any symptoms. When the condition gets worse, the patient’s bones will become brittle which is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Pain in several parts of the body, especially the lower back, pelvis, groin, legs, and ribs. The pain will get worse at night or when holding heavy loads.
  • Staggered when walking, and difficulty in standing and climbing stairs due to weakness in muscles.
  • The body feels tired easily.

If the condition is getting worse, the patient can experience a broken bone. In addition, calcium deficiency can also cause symptoms in the form of:

  • Numb
  • Muscles stiff and tense
  • Irregular heartbeat.

Causes of Osteomalacia

Osteomalacia is caused by the incomplete bone development process, so the bone does not harden. This happens because the body lacks calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D. Besides lack of food intake, some of the conditions below can also make the body lacks these substances:

  • Lack of sun exposure
  • Side effects of anticonvulsant drugs
  • Elderly
  • Morbid obesity
  • Impaired kidney or liver function
  • Celiac disease, where the small intestine is unable to absorb nutrients from food
  • Had surgery to remove part or all of the stomach (gastrectomy)

Osteomalacia Diagnosis

To assess the condition of the bones and find out the causes of osteomalacia, there are several tests that can be done, such as:

  • X-rays, to see a small crack in the bone.
  • BMD Examination (bone mineral density), to see bone density.
  • Blood and urine tests, to check the levels of vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium in the blood and urine. In addition, blood and urine tests can also check levels of parathyroid hormone that affect calcium levels in the body.
  • Bone biopsy, a procedure for collecting bone tissue samples using a needle for further investigation in the laboratory. However, this examination is rarely done.

Osteomalacia Treatment

To meet the adequacy of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, and to treat osteomalacia, the doctor will advise patients to:

  • Bask in the sun. Patients will be asked to sunbathe often in the morning. Be sure to use sunscreen before sunbathing, especially if the sun is already hot.
  • Adjust your dietary habits. The doctor will advise sufferers to improve their dietary habits and consume more foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphate.
  • Take vitamin D supplements. Osteomalacia sufferers are encouraged to take vitamin D supplements for several weeks to several months.
  • Take calcium or phosphorus supplements. If calcium or phosphorus levels are low in the body, the doctor will prescribe calcium or phosphorus supplements.

If there are already broken or deformed bones due to osteomalacia, the orthopedic doctor will recommend a brace installation or even surgery. If there is a disease underlying the lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphorus, the doctor will also treat the disease.

How to Prevent Bone Diseases Due To Calcium Deficiency

The following are tips that you can apply to always maintain bone health and anticipate bone diseases:

1. Inadequate Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D

The body cannot produce calcium. Therefore, calcium needs to be obtained from food. However, the body also needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from food in the intestine.

Vitamin D can be formed naturally by the body with the help of sunlight. To be sufficient, vitamin D also needs to be obtained from food. To meet your intake of vitamin D and calcium, you can eat salmon such as sardines, tuna, spinach, cabbage, soybeans, egg yolks, milk, and cheese.

2. Take Calcium Supplements

Aging and certain medical conditions can inhibit the absorption of calcium in the intestine and accelerate the reduction in calcium and other minerals from bones. Therefore, sometimes the intake of food is not enough.

To help meet the adequacy of calcium, you can take calcium supplements. Choose calcium supplements that also contain a combination of vitamins C and D3. This additional vitamin will help the absorption of calcium from food and prevent the loss of calcium from bones. If possible, you can choose an organic calcium supplement or one that comes from natural sources, such as green vegetables.

3 Bone Diseases - Due to Calcium Deficiency & How to Prevent It

The form of calcium supplements can vary. Some are in the form of drinking tablets and some must be dissolved in water first (effervescent). You can choose the supplements that best suit your condition.

Effervescent tablets tend to increase stomach acid. So, it can cause complaints such as heartburn, flatulence, nausea, to intestinal irritation. If you have stomach problems, this is not recommended for you. In addition, effervescent also contain soda which can inhibit calcium absorption. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor about the type of calcium supplement that suits your needs along with the dosage.

3. Consumption of Various Types of Vegetables

Eating various types of vegetables is one way to avoid bone diseases. Vegetables and antioxidants foods are rich in vitamin C which plays a role in the production of bone-forming cells. In addition, vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant that can protect bone cells from damage caused by free radicals.

4. Do Exercise Regularly

Exercise is highly recommended for everyone from children to the elderly, male and female. Sports that are recommended for maintaining bone health include walking, climbing and jogging. In addition, weight training can also strengthen bones.

Besides strengthening muscles, these sports have also been shown to stimulate bone formation as well as maximize mineral storage and prevent mineral loss in bones, so as to prevent bone pain.

5. Maintain Body Weight

People who are underweight are more at risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis, whereas obese people tend to have poor bone quality and are more at risk of fractures. Therefore, it is important for you to maintain an ideal body weight to keep bones healthy.

Bone diseases due to lack of calcium can cause various health problems and reduce the ability of sufferers to move. Therefore, maintain bone health from an early age and do not wait for bone pain.

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The ways to maintain weight is to consume enough calcium and apply a healthy lifestyle. If you feel the intake of calcium from food is insufficient, you can take calcium supplements according to doctor’s recommendations.

If you often experience aches, difficulty moving, feel pain in the spine, or bones feel very painful just because of a mild collision, immediately consult a doctor to undergo examination and get treatment.