Metabolic Bone Disorders - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What Is Metabolic Bone Disorders?
Metabolic Bone Disorders – This is a collective term used for a number of diseases which affect the strength of the bones of the body and make them weak. Some of the diseases which can come under the umbrella of Metabolic Bone Disorders are Osteoporosis, Osteomalacia, Paget's Disease etc. These disorders are usually caused by abnormalities in the levels of minerals like calcium or phosphorus, vitamin D, or an abnormality of bone structure. Most common form of metabolic bone disorders is osteoporosis which if left untreated can cause extremely weak bones which may become prone to fractures, bone deformities, and potentially serious disabilities. Some risk factors for osteoporosis are age, small body stature, history of frequent fractures, chronic steroid use, or kidney ailments. These diseases can affect both males and females equally.
What Causes Metabolic Bone Disorders?
As stated, these disorders are caused due to abnormalities in minerals or the structure of the bone which cause disorders which are usually treatable and reversible if the underlying cause has been cured.
What Are The Symptoms Of Metabolic Bone Disorders?
The symptoms of metabolic Bone Disorders depend on the underlying disease, which are as follows:
Osteoporosis: In cases of osteoporosis, the main symptom is extremely fragile bones resulting in frequent fractures and a bone densitometry generally identifies this disease.
Paget's Disease: The main symptom of this disease is a visible deformity of the bones and joints.
Osteomalacia: The main symptoms of this disease are bone pain, weakness, extremely fragile bones, and frequent fractures.
How Is Metabolic Bone Disorders Diagnosed?
In Metabolic Bone Disorders, a routine history and physical examination usually reveals nonspecific findings and further investigations are therefore required to identify the cause of the disorder and formulating a treating plan. The following imaging studies may be helpful in identifying a Metabolic Bone Disorder:
Plain Radiographs: This is imperative for diagnosis of fracture. In people who have a confirmed diagnosis of osteoporosis, changes that can be detected at the beginning may be wedge fractures or vertebral body height loss. Plain radiographs may also suggest osteopenia which points to a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
Isotope Bone Scan: This study differentiates between vertebral body collapse as a result of osteoporosis from that of malignancy.
Apart from the radiographic studies bone densitometry can also be performed to look at the bone mineral density, which will be low in cases of osteoporosis
What Are Treatments For Metabolic Bone Disorders?
For treating osteoporosis and osteomalacia, calcium and vitamin D supplementation is imperative. Apart from that, bisphosphonates are also given to increase bone mass. Paget's Disease needs close monitoring since at times this disease does not require any treatment but in cases of severe deformities a surgical procedure may be required. The calcium and vitamin D supplementation is designed by the treating physician depending on the individual's history and the medical condition.