Calcium and bone disorders


Overview

The bones in the body not only add support but they help the body move. During early stages of life the body builds bone faster than it removes it. As we age, production slows down. With bone disorders and natural aging the structural integrity of the skeleton can weaken. Calcium and bone disorders contribute heavily to weakening of the bones, loss of bone mass or even destruction of bone tissue. 

Causes

Calcium and bone disorders occur commonly with age, typically in women more than men however there are other causes of calcium and bone disorders in the body, including:

Traumatic causes of bone disorders

  • Blunt force trauma
  • Fracture
  • Damage to blood vessels

Non-traumatic causes of bone disorders

  • Long-term medication use (such as corticosteroids)
  • Excessive and/or long-term use of alcohol
  • Genetic bone defects
  • Chemical irregularities in bone protein
  • Infections (sometimes resulting from traumatic injury)
  • Benign (non-cancerous) tumors on the parathyroid glands or gland enlargement

Symptoms

Calcium and bone disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • A waddling walk
  • Bone pain
  • Bone deformity
  • Bone fractures
  • Scoliosis — a lateral, or sideways, curvature and rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.
  • Joint pain
  • Limited range of motion (often due to pain)

Types

Types of calcium and bone disorders include:

Osteoporosis

Also known as porous bone, osteoporosis is a bone disease in which there is a loss of bone mass and destruction of bone tissue. This process causes weakening of the bones and makes them more likely to break. The bones most often affected are the hips, spine and wrists.

Paget’s disease of the bone

A chronic bone disorder in which bones become enlarged and deformed. Bone may become dense, but remains fragile, because of excessive breakdown and deformation of bone. This type of bone disease is the second most common bone disorder in people over age 50, after osteoporosis.

Hyperparathyroidism

A metabolic disorder in which one or more of the parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone. This has the potential to result in the loss of bone tissue, making it a concern for those suffering existing bone disorders. Hyperparathyroidism affects about 100,000 people in the U.S. each year, and like other bone disorders is more common in women.

Vitamin D disorders

Vitamin D is vital for the absorption and use of calcium to help build strong bones and teeth. It also helps the body maintain a normal level of phosphorus. Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen. With consistent vitamin D insufficiency, calcium and bone disorders can quickly develop, especially where bone disease already exists. The appropriate intake of Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, two forms of bone disease that weaken the skeletal system.

High and low calcium disorders

Calcium, stored within our bones, plays an important role in several vital body functions, including muscle contractions, enzyme function and nerve conduction. Calcium levels in the blood are regulated by two hormones produced by the four parathyroid glands (glands located adjacent to the thyroid gland in the neck). Improper calcium levels not only lead to other bone diseases and disorders but can also interrupt or inhibit chemical and mechanical functions within the body.