Softening of bones, particularly in the sense of bone weakened by demineralization (the loss of mineral) and most notably by the depletion of calcium from bone. Osteomalacia may be caused by poor dietary intake or poor absorption of calcium and other minerals needed to harden bones. Osteomalacia is a characteristic feature of vitamin D deficiency in adults. The treatment of osteomalacia is by dietary change. Hormone supplements may also be helpful for post-menopausal women. The term "osteomalacia" comes from the Greek osteo- (bone) + malakia (softness) = softness of bone.
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A disease characterized by a gradual softening and bending of the bones with varying severity of pain; softening occurs because the bones contain osteoid tissue that has failed to calcify because of lack of vitamin D or renal tubular dysfunction; more common in women than in men, o. often begins during pregnancy. SYN: adult rickets, late rickets, rachitis tarda. [osteo- + G. malakia, softness]
- infantile o., juvenile o. SYN: rickets.
- senile o. osteoporosis in the aged.

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os·teo·ma·la·cia .äs-tē-ō-mə-'lā-sh(ē-)ə n a disease of adults that is characterized by softening of the bones and is analogous to rickets in the young
os·teo·ma·la·cic -'lā-sik adj

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softening of the bones caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, either from a poor diet or lack of sunshine or both. It is the adult counterpart of rickets. Vitamin D is necessary for the uptake of calcium from food; the deficiency therefore leads to progressive decalcification of bony tissues, often causing bone pain. The condition may become irreversible if treatment with vitamin D is not given.

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os·teo·ma·la·cia (os″te-o-mə-laґshə) [osteo- + -malacia] inadequate or delayed mineralization of osteoid in mature cortical and spongy bone; it is the adult equivalent of rickets and accompanies that disorder in children. The etiology of osteomalacia and its clinical and biochemical manifestations are as described for rickets (q.v.). osteomalacic adj

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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