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Renal Bone Disease

Calcium and phosphorus are minerals found in many foods and are important for your body's function. Your body works best when these minerals are in balance. Excess phosphorus is usually wasted by the kidney. But if you have kidney disease, phosphorus may build up in your blood. Excess phosphorus in the body tends to bind with calcium and gets deposited in blood vessels and other organs. Because most of the calcium is in the bones, this constant "robbing" of the calcium by phosphorus leads to lowered calcium levels in the blood. Kidney disease also leads to reduced vitamin D levels in the body. All these changes lead to a health problem called renal bone disease.

Woman walking with crutches outdoors.
Over time, renal bone disease can increase your risk of bone fractures.

How renal bone disease can affect the body

If it is not controlled, your bones can become weaker over time. This can increase your risk of bone fractures. The spine, ribs, and bones in the hands and feet are often at greatest risk. If your bones weaken too much, walking or coughing can be all it takes to cause a fracture. Controlling the phosphorus level in your blood is the best way to protect your bones.

If renal bone disease progresses

The following problems may occur as the disease worsens:

  • Itchy skin

  • Bone and joint pain

  • Brittle bones

  • Fractures

  • Muscle weakness

  • Deposits of calcium phosphate appear in organs, such as the heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and gums

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2013
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