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
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
||► Craniotabes (soft skull)
|► Costochondral swelling
||► Harrison's groove
(uncontrolled muscle spasms all over the body)
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.