Rickets

Rickets is a bone disorder or disease caused by deficiency of vitamin D, calcium or phosphate. Rickets leads to softening and weakening of the bones and is seen most commonly in children,  who are not exposed enough to sunlight which is a rich source of vitamin d. rickets may develop more easily.   e child may develop a pigeon chest, a crooked spine and become bow legged.

Abnormal mineralization of bone on the other hand is termed as osteomalacia.

Signs & symptoms

Some of the sings and symptoms of rickets include:

  • Skeletal deformities, including an oddly shaped skull, bow legs, or legs that bow out.
  • Teeth deformities such as delayed tooth formation, holes in the enamel
  • Pain or tenderness in the bones of the arms, legs, pelvis ,spine
  • Stunted growth and short stature
  • Bone fractures.
  • Muscle cramps.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of rickets in a patient may be done in following ways:

  1. Physical examination: check for tenderness or pain in the bones by lightly pressing on them.
  2. Blood tests to measure the levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood
  3. Bone X-rays to check for bone deformities
  4. A bone biopsy will be performed in rare cases (the removal of a very small section of bone, which will be sent to a laboratory for analysis.)

Treatments

Ricket can be treated using following measures:

  1. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can also be used to treat rickets at correct dose based on size of child
  2. Increase their exposure to sunlight, if possible.
  3. Encourage them to consume food products high in vitamin D, such as fish, liver, milk, and eggs.
  4. Child may need braces to position their bones correctly as they grow in case of skeletal deformities.
  5. Child may need corrective surgery in severe cases.

Prevention

It is always better to prevent the disease rather than to cure them. Some of the ways to prevent rickets are as follows:

  1. Eat a diet that includes adequate amounts of calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D.
  2. Have their calcium and phosphate levels monitored on a regular basis to people with kidney disorders
  3. Get enough exposure to sunlight: According to the National Health Service of England (NHS), you only need to expose your hands and face to sunlight a few times a week during the spring and summer months to prevent rickets)

As we know, ricket is caused to the deficiency of vitamin D. Therefore, it is necessary for us to have enough vitamin D in our body. Some of the sources of vitamin D are explained below:

Sources of vitamin D:

  • Sunlight – your skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun, and we get most of our vitamin D this way
  • Food – vitamin D is also found in some foods, such as oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals
  • Dietary supplements – Calcium is commonly found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, and green vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage.