Osteodystrophy (os-tee-oh-DIS-truh-fee) is a general term for defective or abnormal bone development.
Bones are mostly made of a protein called collagen and a substance called calcium phosphate. This is why calcium is important for building and maintaining strong bones. But a number of conditions can affect the way a person's body breaks down and uses minerals like calcium and phosphorus to build bones. This can cause bones to form abnormally or break down too quickly.
Osteodystrophy is usually a complication of kidney disease. In these cases, it is called renal osteodystrophy. Renal osteodystrophy can cause skeletal deformities, slowed growth, bone and muscle pain, knock-knees, and bowlegs. Sometimes liver disease can also cause osteodystrophy in a condition called hepatic osteodystrophy.
Osteodystrophy is commonly associated with conditions like osteoporosis (decreased bone strength), osteitis fibrosa (soft, deformed bones), and osteomalacia (softening and weakening of bones due to a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate). Osteomalacia in children is called rickets.
Treatment for osteodystrophy involves treating the condition that is affecting bone development and treating any symptoms as they appear.
Many of the conditions that cause osteodystrophy respond well to treatment with medications, supplements, and changes in diet.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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