Biomedicine & Biochemistry

Share this article:

Biomedicine & Biochemistry

  • Join our comunity:

Vitamin D Deficiency, Rickets, and Osteomalacia

By: , Posted on: April 19, 2017



Osteomalacia is a distinctive disorder of adults with bone pain and muscle weakness. It is characterized histologically by broad seams of uncalcified bone matrix in sections of trabecular bone. It is distinct from osteoporosis which is generally asymptomatic before a fracture occurs. Histologically osteoporosis has no characteristic findings other than diminished bone quantity.

Osteomalacia, like rickets in children, has long been recognized as a consequence of vitamin D deficiency. That they were essentially the same disorder was first appreciated in the early 1900s, particularly as a result of studies of newborn infants with rickets whose mothers were then found to have severe unrecognized osteomalacia (Paterson and Ayoub, 2015).

While the bone disorders, rickets and osteomalacia, are the most widely known consequences of vitamin D deficiency, research in recent years has suggested that the impact may be on many other organs. Low levels of 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), the principal metabolite of vitamin D in blood, have been associated with increased risk of type I diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. While these associations may reflect genuine causation, many of these studies fail to eliminate other possibilities. These include ‘reverse causation’ (the disease may cause low 25OHD levels by reducing sunlight exposure) and confounding (reduced physical activity may have similar results) (Harvey and Cooper, 2012 ;  Shaw and Mughal, 2013b). We need to maintain an open mind in relation to the relevance of vitamin D deficiency to problems outside the skeleton. Continue reading the chapter by clicking the link below:

Chapter Download: Vitamin D Deficiency, Rickets, and Osteomalacia

This Reference Module contains trusted, peer-reviewed, comprehensive content from our reference works as curated by our world-class editorial board led by Editor-in-Chief, Michael Caplan. It is designed for faster, more relevant browsing within the subject and beyond, with featured articles for quick, clear overviews, subject hierarchies to put everything in context, and guidance to lead researchers to related knowledge. The dynamic work is planned to change as science changes. In 2016 the Subject Editors plan for taxonomy enhancements and article expansion within Immunobiology and Epidemiology and Public Health.

Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences

To access more chapters, visit ScienceDirect today!

Connect with us on social media and stay up to date on new articles

Biomedicine & Biochemistry

The disciplines of biomedicine and biochemistry impact the lives of millions of people every day. Research in these areas has led to practical applications in cardiology, cancer treatment, respiratory medicine, drug development, and more. Interdisciplinary fields of study, including neuroscience, chemical engineering, nanotechnology, and psychology come together in this research to yield significant new discoveries. Elsevier’s biomedicine and biochemistry content spans a wide range of subject matter in various forms, including journals, books, eBooks, and online information services, enabling students, researchers, and clinicians to advance these fields. Learn more about our Biomedical and Biochemistry books here.