How is osteomalacia diagnosed?

There are various tests that can be performed to determine if someone has osteomalacia.

  • The most important indicator is low levels of vitamin D, but low levels of calcium or a significant drop in phosphate levels may also indicate osteomalacia.
  • X-rays may be taken to see if there is any evidence of osteomalacia.
  • A bone mineral density scan may be helpful in evaluating the amount of calcium and other minerals present in a patient’s bone segment. These scans are not required to make the diagnosis of osteomalacia. However, they may give important information about a patient’s bone health.

Rarely, the doctor may perform a bone biopsy, in which a sample of bone tissue is taken and examined.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/14/2018.

References

  • Lorenzo JA, Canalis E, Raisz LG. Metabolic bone disease. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 29.
  • Bhan A, Rao AD, Rao DS. Osteomalacia as a Result of Vitamin D Deficiency. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010;39(2):321.
  • Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institutes of Health. Retrieved August 4, 2012. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D. (2011, June 24). Accessed 10/3/2018.
  • Lee, JY, So, Tsz-Yin, Thackray, J. A Review of Vitamin D Deficiency. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther 2013 Oct-Dec; 18(4): 277–291.

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