Osteosclerosis is a condition that features an abnormal hardening or thickening of the bone.
Strengthening the bones can lead a healthier life and helps to prevent several diseases. But sometimes, a bone becoming too dense can also lead to an undesirable outcome.
Osteosclerosis is a type of Osteopetrosis (inherited bone disorders) that refers to an increase in the density of the bones.
This higher density results in the potential reduction of the spinal canal and bone atrophy impacting the spinal cord.
More often than not, a bone is strong enough to withstand a considerable amount of force, but still flexible enough to bend without breaking.
When people suffer from Osteosclerosis their bones become so dense they lose their flexibility or limberness, resulting in bone structures more prone to fractures.
People usually acquire this disorder through other related conditions, such as Renal Osteodystrophy (ROD), Fluorosis, or the Paget disease.
In some cases, Osteosclerosis can lead to cardiac anomalies such as Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).
Some youngsters develop Osteosclerosis as a result of a genetic heritage from their parents.
The sufferers inherited some metabolic, inflammatory, and neoplastic disorders. In such cases, Osteosclerosis appears a manifestation of those conditions.
Other kinds of Osteopetrosis can also lead to this condition. For example, Pyknodysostosis, also known as osteopetrosis acro-osteolytica or Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome, can cause both short stature and Osteosclerosis.
However, as explained above, Osteosclerosis is not always a matter of genetic heritage.
More often than not, some bone disorders can increase the risk of developing this condition:
- ROD: a disease that consists of a series of musculoskeletal abnormalities that occurs because of renal failure.
- Myelofibrosis: it causes the replacement of bone marrow with collagenous connective tissue, featuring progressive fibrosis.
- Systemic Mastocytosis: a disease that features excessive mast cell proliferation, causing bone pain and pathological fractures.
- Paget Disease: it is a common bone disorder that causes abnormal bone remodeling.
- Skeletal Fluorosis: a condition that causes compact bone thickening
Several other disorders and diseases can cause Osteosclerosis. The reason behind this has much to do with the osteoclasts.
The Osteoclasts are bone cells that break down and absorb mineralized bone.
They play an essential role in a process that allows the body to regulate the density of the skeletal structure by continually replacing and producing bone tissue.
But when a disease or some genetic factor diminishes the activity of osteoclasts, the density of the bone rises to harmful levels. That is the primary cause of Osteosclerosis.
It is a generalized clinical syndrome that occurs because of defective osteoclastic bone resorption
As explained above, while having strong bones is something good, an extremely thick bone is detrimental to the health.
When Osteosclerosis affects the bones, they become too dense and prone to fractures. So frequent bone fractures and pain are usual signs of this condition.
Another symptoms typical to this bone disorder is hypocalcemia, which means low levels of calcium in the blood.
People who suffer from Osteosclerosis will also display short stature, as well as issues with their vision and hearing.
Additionally, this condition can also impact the blood. The bone marrow produces stem cells and platelets. Stem cells help to create red blood cells (RBCs), something essential for healthy blood.
Sometimes, Osteosclerosis can diminish the activity of the bone marrow. That ends up hampering the production of RBCs and causing anemia.
Healthcare providers can find the most typical signs of this bone disorder through radiography. In some cases, they may include blood tests too.
There is no cure for Osteosclerosis. That is why medical experts prefer to focus on reducing or alleviating the symptoms, as well as preventing further complications.
One of the first measures a healthcare provider might take is vitamin and mineral supplementation because patients with Osteosclerosis often suffer from malabsorption (inability or difficulty to absorb nutrients)
Depending on the needs of each person, doctors can recommend single-nutrient supplements, such as vitamin C, or combination supplements, such as a multivitamin with minerals.
Some medical experts recommend patients to use antibiotics to treat any bacterial infections that may result from their condition.
If someone who suffers from Osteosclerosis develops ASD, as some medical experts had seen, doctors may need to resort to surgery to correct this issue.