What is rickets?
Rickets is a softening of the bones in children leading to fractures and deformity.

  • What are the causes of rickets?

    The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency In the absence of vitamin D, dietary Calcium is not properly absorbed, resulting in hypocalcaemia, leading to skeletal and dental deformities and neuromuscular symptoms, e.g. hyper excitability.
    Lack of adequate calcium in the diet may also lead to rickets. usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood. Vitamin D is required for proper calcium absorption from the gut.
    Higher risk for developing rickets include: Dark-skinned children ,Breast-fed infants whose mothers are not exposed to sunlight ,Breast-fed infants who are not exposed to sunlight ,those are lactose intolerant.

What are the symptoms of rickets?

  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Dental problems
  • Increased tendency for fractures
  • Growth disturbance
  • Hypocalcaemia
  • Craniotabes (soft skull)
  • Costochondral swelling
  • Harrison's groove
  • Tetany (uncontrolled muscle spasms all over the body)
  • Double malleoli sign due to metaphyseal hyperplasia

How to treat rickets?


Food against Rickets

Treatment involves increasing dietary intake of Calcium, phosphates and vitamin D :
cod liver oil, halibut-liver oil, and viosterol are all sources of vitamin D



Exposure to ultraviolet (sunshine)

The replacement of vitamin D has been proven to correct rickets using these methods of ultraviolet light therapy and medicine.

How to prevent rickets from occurring?

A sufficient amount of ultraviolet in sunlight each day and adequate supplies of calcium and phosphorus in the diet can prevent rickets. Darker-skinned babies need to be exposed longer to the ultraviolet rays.
Recommendations are for 200 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day for infants and children. Children who do not get adequate amounts of vitamin D are at increased risk of rickets. Vitamin D is essential for allowing the body to uptake calcium for use in proper bone calcification and maintenance.
Sufficient vitamin D levels can also be achieved through dietary supplementation. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form since it is more readily absorbed than vitamin D2. Most dermatologists recommend vitamin D supplementation as an alternative to unprotected ultraviolet exposure due to the increased risk of skin cancer associated with sun exposure.
Infants who are breast-fed may not get enough vitamin D from breast milk alone. For this reason, the AAP recommends that infants who are exclusively breast-fed receive daily supplements of vitamin D from age 2 months until they start drinking at least 17 ounces of vitamin D-fortified milk or formula a day.

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