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How is osteomalacia diagnosed?

Because the symptoms of osteomalacia are often not very specific, it can be some time before the condition is diagnosed. Your doctor may ask you about your diet and any family history of bone disorders. It's common for people to have osteomalacia for two or three years before it's diagnosed.

What tests are there?

A simple blood test is all that’s needed to make the diagnosis – the levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D are easily measured. Blood tests for the following also help to make the diagnosis:

  • Alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme produced by osteoblasts (bone-producing cells), is at a raised level in osteomalacia.
  • Parathyroid hormone, produced by the parathyroid gland, is raised as part of the body’s reaction to the condition.

Blood tests will be able to rule out some of the rarer causes of the condition, while an x-ray may show any cracks or fractures in the bones.

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