Rickets is the problem of softening and weakening of bones in children, generally because of an extreme and long-duration vitamin D deficiency. Rare inherited issues also can create rickets. Vitamin D helps your child’s body consume calcium and phosphorus from food. Not sufficient vitamin D makes it tough to maintain proper calcium and phosphorus levels in bones, which can arise rickets. Adding vitamin D or calcium to the diet usually corrects the bone problems related to rickets. When rickets is due to another underlying medical problem, your child may require additional medications or other treatments. Some skeletal deformities made by rickets may need prospective surgery. Rare inherited disorders associated with low levels of phosphorus, the other mineral component in bone, may need other medications.
Symptoms of Rickets
Signs and symptoms of rickets can include:
1) Growth delay
2) Motor skills delay
3) Pain in the spine, pelvis, and legs
4) Muscle weakness
Because rickets softens the regions of growing tissue at the ends of a child’s bones (growth plates), it can make skeletal deformities like:
1) Bowed legs or knock knees
2) Thickened wrists and ankles
3) Breastbone projection
When you should go to the doctor?
Consult to your doctor if your child suffers bone pain, muscle weakness, or visible skeletal deformities.
Causes of Rickets
The child’s body requires vitamin D to consume calcium and phosphorus from food. Rickets can arise if the child’s body doesn’t get sufficient vitamin D or if his or her body has problems properly using vitamin D. Occasionally, not taking enough calcium or a lack of calcium and vitamin D can create rickets.
1) Lack of Vitamin D
Children who don’t get sufficient vitamin D from these two sources can promote a deficiency:
Sunlight: The child’s skin originates from vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. But children in developed countries have a tendency to spend less time outdoors. They’re also more likely to use sunscreen, which guards the rays of the sun that hit the production of the skin of vitamin D.
Food: Fish oil, egg yolks, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel contain vitamin D. Vitamin D has also been used to some foods and beverages, like milk, cereal, and some fruit juices.
2) Problems with absorption
Some children are born with or promote medical conditions that target the way their bodies consume vitamin D. Some examples include:
a) Celiac disease
b) Inflammatory bowel disease
c) Cystic fibrosis
d) Kidney problems
What are the risk factors associated with Rickets?
1) Dark skin: Dark skin has more of the pigment melanin, which lowers the ability of the skin to originate vitamin D from sunlight.
2) Mother’s vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy: A baby born to a mother with chronic vitamin D deficiency can be taken with marks of rickets or promote them within a few months after birth.
3) Northern latitudes: Children who live in geographical locations where there is less sunshine are at higher risk of rickets.
4) Premature birth: Babies born before their birth dates have a tendency to lower levels of vitamin D because they had less time to absorb the vitamin from their mothers in the womb.
5) Medications: Certain types of anti-seizure medicines and antiretroviral medications, generally to treat HIV infections, come to interfere with the ability of the body to use vitamin D.
6) Exclusive breastfeeding: Breast milk doesn’t contain sufficient vitamin D to prevent rickets. Babies who are exclusively breastfed must consume vitamin D drops.
Complications of Rickets
Rickets can lead to:
1) Growth failure
2) Abnormally curved spine
3) Deformities of bone
4) Dental problems
Prevention mechanism of Rickets
Exposure to sunlight gives the best source of vitamin D. During most seasons, 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to the sun near midday is sufficient. However, if you’re dark-skinned person, if it’s winter season or if you live in northern latitudes, you might not be able to get sufficient vitamin D from sun exposure. Also, because of skin cancer concerns, infants and young children, particularly, are warned to neglect direct sun or to always use sunscreen and protective clothing.
To prevent rickets, ensure that your child eats foods that contain vitamin D naturally — fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fish oil and egg yolks — or that have been fortified with vitamin D, like:
1) Infant formulation
4) Milk, but not milk products like some yogurts and cheese
5) Orange juice
Diagnosis procedure of Rickets
During the test, the doctor will gently push on your child’s bones, identifying for any abnormalities. He or she will pay specific attention to your child’s:
1) Skull: Babies who have rickets sometime have softer skull bones and might have a late in the closure of the weak spots
2) Legs: While even healthy toddlers are a little bowlegged, and exaggerated bowing of the legs is usual with rickets.
3) Chest: Some children with rickets promote abnormalities in their rib cages, which can flatten and make their breastbones to protrude.
4) Wrists and ankles: Children who have rickets sometime have wrists and ankles that are larger or thicker than usual.
X-rays of the injured bones can disclose bone deformities. Blood and urine tests can ensure a diagnosis of rickets and also observe the progress of treatment.