Author(s): Hazzazi MA, Alzeer I, Tamimi W, Al Atawi M, Al Alwan I
This study was conducted to determine the causes and clinical presentations of osteomalacia/rickets in adolescents seen at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC), Riyadh. Because osteomalacia and rickets constitute the same entity, the term osteomalacia will be used for future discussion. A retrospective file review was performed on all adolescents (10-16 years) with osteomalacia, defined as alkaline phosphatase levels ≥500 IU/L, seen at the KAMC, Riyadh, from 2000 to 2006. We recorded the signs and symptoms, dietary history and amount of sun exposure at presentation. A total of 135 patients were found to fit the inclusion criteria for the study. Of them, 57 had nutritional causes, with a mean age of 13.2 years, and included 32 females. At diagnosis, 22 patients were found to have bone pain, 10 had bone deformities, eight had pathological fractures and 17 were asymptomatic. Secondary causes for osteomalacia were found in 59 cases who had liver and renal disease and in 19 other patients who were on medications such as anticonvulsants and steroids, which are known to cause osteomalacia. Our study indicates that osteomalacia is a significant health burden that deserves special attention. Bone pain is the most common presenting symptom at diagnosis. Because of the high risk of osteomalacia associated with the use of anticonvulsants and steroids, it is advised that all patients on these drugs should be routinely screened for secondary osteomalacia.