What is rickets?
Rickets is a softening of the bones in
children leading to fractures and deformity.
What are the symptoms of rickets?
- Bone pain or tenderness
- Dental problems
- Increased tendency for fractures
- Growth disturbance
- 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?
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
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.