8: Disorders of bone and mineral other than osteoporosis

Richard L Prince and Paul Glendenning
Med J Aust 2004; 180 (7): 354-359.


  • Rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults are caused by undermineralisation of bone, which increases its susceptibility to bending and fracture; treatment is with calcium, vitamin D or phosphate, depending on the specific mineral or vitamin deficiency.

  • In Paget’s disease, osteoclasts are overactive and produce woven or “repair” bone, which is mechanically weaker than lamellar bone; treatment is with antiresorptive bisphosphonate drugs.

  • Cancers can produce bone lysis through direct spread within the skeleton or production of endocrine parathyroid hormone-like factors; treatment is with a bisphosphonate, plus appropriate therapy for the cancer.

  • Cancer can also produce hypercalcaemia if the capacity of the kidneys to excrete the calcium dissolved from bone is exceeded; treatment is with saline infusion to increase excretion and a bisphosphonate.

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism is the other common cause of hypercalcaemia and is usually associated with a single parathyroid adenoma; it is best treated with parathyroidectomy.

  • Hypocalcaemia may result from severe decrease in calcium absorbed or lack of parathyroid action; both are treated with calcium and vitamin D (ergocalciferol or calcitriol).

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  • Richard L Prince1
  • Paul Glendenning2

  • 1 Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and the University Unit of Medicine at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, WA.
  • 2 Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, WA.


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