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Metabolic Bone Disease is a term used for various conditions of the bones that can be caused by a number of different disorders. Most of these disorders are developed due to nutritional deficiencies, defects in the bone metabolism procedure or due to hereditary defects in the skeletal structure. Conditions that fall under the category are osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets, Paget's disease, parathyroid conditions, chemotherapy induced bone loss and menopause induced bone loss.
Causes of Metabolic Bone Diseases:
- Imbalance in the level of calcium : Too much calcium or too little calcium can cause bone diseases. While the overabundance of calcium (hypercalcemia) in the body will lead to calculi formation, which can be harmful for the body, the lack of calcium (hypocalcemia) causes weakness, bone pain and restricted growth.
- Deficiency of phosphorus: Low phosphorus in blood (hypophosphatemia) leads to softening of the bone tissue and bone loss. Osteomalacia is commonly caused by phosphorus deficiencies.
- Deficiency of Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for the body to absorb calcium. Cells called osteoblasts need vitamin D in order to absorb calcium and secrete the bone tissue proteins. A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to a number of metabolic bone diseases like rickets and osteoporosis.
- Over or under secretion of the parathyroid hormone:The parathyroid hormone (PTH) stimulates the secretion of an enzyme, which converts the inactive circulatory form of vitamin D into its active usable form. The hormone can also increase the circulation of free or ionized calcium (Ca2+), which is not attached to proteins. Both underproduction and overproduction of the hormone causes skeletal problems.
Symptoms of Metabolic Bone Diseases:
The symptoms of most of the Metabolic Bone Diseases are similar, such as
- A dull, throbbing pain in the bones is the most common symptom. The pain is frequent and lasts for a long amount of time, but unlike muscular pain, the exact region of bone pain cannot be specified.
- Severe joint pains accompanied by stiffness and swelling of the joints. The patient experience pain during regular physical activities, especially during cold weather conditions.
- Frequent fractures are caused by most bone diseases because the bone mineral density decreases drastically. Severe bone injury may be caused by mild trauma.
- Defects in the bones can cause bowed out legs and a bent backbone.
- A general feeling of exhaustion is often caused by bone diseases.
- Kidney stones are an associated complication of metabolic bone diseases.
Rare forms of bone oriented tumours are giant cell tumours, which are mostly found in the bones that are long. This tumour is mostly found in young people between the age of 25 to 40 years and is more common in women than in men. The slow progressive growth of this tumour is more like a lesion rather than a mass, and it causes significant pain. It can also lead to bone destruction. Let us find out the various facets of these tumours including causes, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.
- Causes: The actual cause of this condition is not yet known, although many orthopaedic specialists tend to associate it with Paget disease, which is a chronic bone disorder. The main symptoms of this disease include enlargement and deformity of the bones. Giant cell tumours are not associated with injuries, genetics or environmental factors.
- Symptoms: There are many symptoms that can point at the presence of the giant cell tumour. These include pain in the joints surrounding the bone on which the tumour is growing. Also, inflammation and fractures might be caused due to this growth. The surrounding joints may face difficulty as far as movement goes, and fluid retention might also take place.
- Diagnosis: The diagnosis of the condition is usually done by an orthopaedic specialist who will conduct an x-Ray to study the area surrounding the bone. This will help in throwing up images of the tissue, bones and other organs in the area. The doctor may also carry out a biopsy during which tissue samples will be procured for further examination under a microscope, so as to determine whether or not the growth is a malignant one. Also, radionuclide bone scans may be conducted to find out if there is any bone change due to other bone diseases and this tumour.
- Treatment: The treatment of this condition will depend largely on the patient's age and medical history where the doctor may take stock of any other ailments and diseases which may or may not interfere with the chosen path of treatment. One of the ways of treating this condition is with surgery that will help in removing the damaged bone. In very severe cases, amputation may also be required. Further, bone reconstruction surgery can also be followed for treatment.
- Prognosis: Local recurrence is a risk as far as giant cell tumours are concerned. A CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvic area should be carried out in a routine manner for at least two years after treatment.
Any persistent inflammation and pain should be checked by a doctor to detect any such growth.
Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones of its sufferers. This is most commonly found in women, especially in those who are close to, or going through, menopause. Hormonal changes around this period in a woman's life usually lead to various changes in her body. One of these changes includes loss of bone tissue which can leave the patient with brittle and weak bones, a condition that is also known as osteoporosis. This condition literally imbibes the word porous, meaning hollow bones. It is born from an acute deficiency of calcium and Vitamin D. The DEXA Scan or bone density test, also known as the Dual Energy X Ray Absorptiometry Scan, is one of the most effective tests that can help you in detecting this kind of damage or thinning bones. Here's why.
- Fractures: The DEXA Scan is an important one because it sends low energy beams to areas like your joints and tissues to show how susceptible you are to fractures. It does so by measuring the strength of the tissues as well as the bones to see how brittle they may be.
- Other Ailments: Measuring the thinning of your bones can also point to the presence of other ailments that may have gone unnoticed or undetected, earlier. These can include kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism which happens due to overactive secretions of the said gland, as well as liver disease due a malfunctioning liver, intestinal disease and various disorders in the intestinal tract, and a serious Vitamin D deficiency. With this scan, you can get an insight into the other parts of the body affected by the bone density, and whether or not they are functioning properly.
- Estrogen: Simply checking the estrogen levels cannot ascertain whether or not you have osteoporosis, as a high estrogen level can be credited to a particularly heavy period cycle. It does not show the bone health the way a DEXA Scan does.
- Easy and Standardised: This method of scanning usually happens with the help of a mounted X ray machine type, hand held gadget which can be extended to conduct the scan. This is an easy and standardised method that releases low levels of radiation which also makes it a healthier option.
- Bone Density Scores: The T Scores and Z scores point towards the bone density and help in diagnosing the condition efficiently. With a systematic scoring system, it is a sure shot test for osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a serious condition. The first step in treating the same is to get a detailed scan like the DEXA scan done, so as to test the extent of the bone thinning to ensure that proper and timely treatment takes place.
As you age your body gives way to a number of health problems including those associated with the bones, ligaments, joints, and muscles. But certain orthopedic problems are very common among the aged due to the different biological changes that occur in the bodies of the aged. Nonetheless, some of these very common orthopedic problems are:
- Osteoarthritis - This is a degenerative condition that occurs in the hands, ankles, fingers, spine and knees. When the condition strikes, it hampers your ability to perform everyday tasks, specifically activities that require you to be flexible, agile and mobile. Although no cure is available for treating this condition, there are certain methods that you can employ to increase flexibility and reduce pain.
- Osteoporosis - Once you cross the 30th mark in age, your ability to absorb calcium decreases and the formation of new bones see a hit. As a result, your body begins to absorb calcium that has been stored in the bones, leading to a weakening of the bones. This condition is known as osteoporosis and is said to occur in individuals above the age of 50.
- Fractures - Fractures are also very common among the aged. They occur due to a decrease in your bone mineral density (it stands for the amount of minerals present in your bone tissue). When this happens, it causes you to suffer from brittle and weaker bones. In combination with physical problems faced during old age, especially vision problems and unsteady body balance, the prospects of suffering from fractures increase significantly.
- Dislocation of bones - Occurring after a fall, dislocation of bones and joints is another common orthopedic problem you may face as you grow old. The initial treatment for any dislocation involves RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.