Rickets - Symptoms, causes, and Treatment

Rickets - Symptoms, causes, and Treatment



What is Rickets? 

Rickets is a disease that is fairly common in developing countries and rare in developed countries, and it is a disease that often occurs as a result of malnutrition and deficiency of some bone-forming elements such as calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates, which leads to osteomalacia and its weakness, ease of fracture, and in some severe cases may lead to deformities in the bone structure, and although rickets is more common in children between the ages of six months and three years due to the rapid growth rate during this period, but rickets can affect Adults also called, in this case, the term Osteomalacia, and it should be noted that rickets may be caused by liver disease or a digestive problem in some cases.

The relationship of vitamin D to rickets Although there are a number of different reasons that may lead to rickets, vitamin D deficiency is considered the main cause of the disease, as vitamin D has an important role in helping the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the intestine and regulating their levels in the body, and vitamin D deficiency in the body Due to the imbalance of calcium and phosphate in the blood, which causes the body to secrete a hormone that withdraws quantities of calcium and phosphate from the bones, leading to weak and soft bones and vitamin D can be obtained from many different food sources, such as fish, eggs, and milk products. That the human body is able to synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so it is necessary to ensure that children have a diet. It is worth noting that the incidence of rickets among children decreased during previous years in developed countries as a result of the production of children's foods fortified with nutrients, including vitamin D.

Symptoms of rickets 

There are many different symptoms that may accompany the disease of rickets, and the severity of the symptoms varies from one person to another, and it may be intermittent in some cases, and the following is an explanation of some of the common symptoms: 
  • Feeling of pain in the bones. 
  • Easily fracture bones. 
  • Stiffness and loss of elasticity in the limbs in newborns. 
  • Feeling the softness of the baby's skull. Low level of calcium in the blood. 
  • Swelling of the cartilaginous ribs in the chest, and the protrusion of bones in the area where the ribs connect with the breastbone. 

  • The appearance of Harrison's groove, which is a horizontal line clearly visible at the point where the diaphragm joins the ribs. 

  • Knees colliding with one another in older children. 
  • The child's short stature and low weight. 
  • The curvature of the legs in young children. 
  • Abnormalities of the pelvis, spine, and skull in some cases. 
  • Widen wrists. 
  • The occurrence of muscle spasms can cover the entire body parts.

Risk factors for developing rickets 

There are some factors that may increase the risk of developing rickets, including the following:  

  • Premature birth: as the chance of contracting the disease increases in children who did not complete the normal period of pregnancy and were born early. 
  • People with black skin: The body’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight is weaker for these people, while it is higher for people with light skin. 
  • Taking some types of medicines: Some types of medicines interfere with the body’s ability to benefit from vitamin D, such as some antiviral medicines used to treat AIDS, in addition to medicines used to treat nerve attacks. 
  • Restricting the feeding of the child to breastfeeding: as breast milk does not contain sufficient quantities of vitamin D, therefore children whose feeding is limited to breastmilk should be given drops of a nutritional supplement that contains vitamin D, or add some foods appropriate for the child's age to his diet. 
  • Low exposure to the sun: The risk of developing rickets increases among children who live in countries located in the northern latitudes of the globe, due to their low exposure to the sun. 
  • Vitamin D deficiency in the expectant mother: A deficiency of vitamin D during pregnancy may lead to the birth of a child with some symptoms of rickets, or the emergence of symptoms of the disease within a few months of birth.

Treating rickets 

The treatment of rickets depends on the main cause that led to the disease, and if the disease was caused by a health problem such as kidney disease, then the focus is on treating or controlling this problem. In the case of giving phosphorus and vitamin D drugs in their active form, and in cases of rickets resulting from malnutrition, it is recommended to eat diets rich in calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D, or take nutritional supplements such as fish oil, increased exposure to sunlight, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and may need The patient is required to take calcium and vitamin D supplements on a daily basis, and to receive a needle containing vitamin D annually.