The metabolic bone disorder is a collective term used for a number of bone diseases affecting the strength of the bones, making them weak. These disorders are usually caused due to abnormalities in the calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous levels, which make the bones prone to deformities, fractures, and potentially serious disabilities.
Some risk factors associated with the metabolic bone disorders include age, small body stature, history of frequent fractures, kidney ailments, and chronic steroid use. Metabolic bone disorders affect both male and female equally and usually depend on the underlying disease which is caused due to abnormal mineral levels in the body. These disorders are treatable and reversible if the underlying cause can be cured. Based on the causes, there are three main types of metabolic bone disorders:
It is a condition where bones are thinner than normal. Osteoporosis grows worse with time as the bones become weaker and stand a greater risk of breaking. It is more common older adults. However, it can also be seen in children aged between two to five, which is called juvenile osteoporosis.
The causes of osteoporosis include juvenile arthritis, diabetes mellitus, osteogenesis imperfecta, kidney diseases, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and hyperthyroidism. Osteoporosis does not cause any major symptoms. However, children with juvenile osteoporosis might show symptoms such as hip, lower back, and foot pain; sunken chest; and limping. The symptoms are diagnosed using X-rays, a bone density test, and a blood test, and it can be treated using medicines using physical therapy and medicines for stronger bones. In some cases, osteoporosis in a child can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight; reducing daily caffeine intake; and getting enough calcium through food, drinks, and other supplements.
A type of metabolic bone disorders, rickets is a disease of infancy which is characterized by softening of bones, it leads to abnormal bone growth. Rickets is caused due to lack of vitamin D and the disorder in adults is called as osteomalacia. The symptoms of rickets include softened bones and stunted growth. It also results in the overgrowth of cartilage, leading to enlargement of the ends of long bones such as ribs. A child suffering from rickets will show symptoms such as restlessness, profuse sweating, muscle tone, softening of the bones of the skull, and delayed teething.
Like all metabolic bone disorders, rickets can also be examined by assessing family medical history, X-rays, and blood and urine tests and can be treated with supplemental doses of vitamin D, sufficient exposure of sunlight, and a well-balanced diet.
Yet another one of metabolic bone disorders, it is also referred to as brittle bone disease. A genetic bone disorder, osteogenesis causes bones to fracture easily. The signs and symptoms of osteogenesis imperfecta are mild to severe and there are at least eight types in the disease. Some of the most common symptoms of osteogenesis include bowing of the legs, discoloration of the sclera (white of the eye), barrel-shaped spine, loose joints, muscle weakness, and discolored teeth.
The metabolic bone disorder can be diagnosed using X-rays, lab tests, dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA scan), and bone biopsy. Based on the symptoms and its diagnosis, osteogenesis can be treated using bisphosphonate medicines, orthopedic treatment, rodding, and physical and occupational therapy.