Metabolic bone disease or MBD refers to a large spectrum of bone disorders, usually caused by mineral abnormalities such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium or vitamin D. The most common metabolic bone diseases include osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets, renal osteodystrophy and osteitis deformans (Paget’s disease of bone).
Metabolic bone disease can be caused by a number of factors including vitamin D deficiency, hereditary hypophosphatemia, and hyperparathyroidism (over-activation of the parathyroid gland).
The most common form of metabolic bone disorder is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density resulting in brittle, fragile bones that are more susceptible to fractures. The condition most commonly affects elderly women. Osteoporosis related fractures are more common at the hips, wrists, or vertebral bodies of the spine. Osteoporosis is called a “silent disease,” because a majority of patients are unaware of their condition until they develop a bone fracture.
Metabolic bone disease in children can result in linear growth reduction, bone deformities, non-traumatic fractures, and impairment of motor development and function.
The diagnosis of MBD is usually made based upon a careful history, physical examination, radiographic (X-rays) examinations, appropriate lab tests, and bone biopsy if indicated.
Treatment for MBD depends on the underlying cause. Early detection and treatment of risk factors is essential to maintain the skeletal health of an individual. A balanced diet with adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium and an adequate amount of physical activity are needed for normal bone metabolism. Your doctor may prescribe osteoporosis medications to help slow the rate of bone loss, and in some cases, to replace the lost bone structure.