Osteomalacia is a metabolic disease that causes weakened bones. It is similar to rickets in children, which causes pain, soft bones, and can lead to bone deformities. People with osteomalacia have problems forming new bone. The condition is different than osteoporosis, which occurs when existing bone becomes weak and soft. This disease can be uncomfortable and may be experienced alongside, or develop due to, other health conditions. Fortunately, many cases are highly treatable.
Vitamin D deficiencies usually cause osteomalacia. The nutrient is vital to the absorption of calcium from food, which in turn keeps bones strong and helps new bone form normally. The most likely reason for vitamin D deficiency is a lack of foods enriched with the nutrient. However, inadequate exposure to sunlight is another possible cause -- the body can synthesize its own vitamin D after spending time in the sun.
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