What is the difference between osteoporosis and osteomalacia?

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Monique Bethel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Osteoporosis may be confused with osteomalacia. The normal human skeleton is composed of a mineral component, calcium hydroxyapatite (60%), and organic material, mainly collagen (40%). In osteoporosis, the bones are porous and brittle, whereas in osteomalacia, the bones are soft. This difference in bone consistency is related to the mineral-to-organic material ratio. In osteoporosis, the mineral-to-collagen ratio is within the reference range, whereas in osteomalacia, the proportion of mineral composition is reduced relative to organic material content.


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