WHAT IS RICKETS?
Rickets is a childhood bone disorder caused by a deficiency of vitamin D and hence calcium. Rickets can often lead to softening and weakening of your bones. The skeletal deformities associated with rickets are due to poor mineralization of calcium and phosphate.
Deficiency of vitamin D and calcium in adults leads to a condition known as osteomalacia.
- Having low vitamin D and calcium diet
- Premature birth or totally breastfed babies
- Limited or no exposure to sun
- Having certain hereditary metabolic diseases
- Dark skinned individuals
- infants born mothers who are vitamin D deficient
- Having kidney diseases that causes nutrients malabsorption
Complications include fragile bones, frequent bone fractures, muscle cramps, bony irregularities, breathing problems or intellectual disability.
SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
Signs and symptoms of rickets include:
- bone pain or tenderness,
- Muscle spasms or cramps
- Impaired growth and short stature
- Delayed dentition or dental deformities,
- Skeletal deformities such as craniotabes, rickety rosary, kyphosis or scoliosis, curved long bones etc.
- Easy fatigue,
- Weakened immune system
The cause is always either due to a deficiency of vitamin D or calcium.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Rickets can be diagnosed clinically with a complete medical history and a complete physical examination by your doctor.
Further, if suspected, you will be advised to get following tests done:
- Blood tests: low serum calcium, vit D3 and phosphates.
- Bone density scan: in severe cases.
- X-rays of long bones (radius, ulna, and femur) and ribs.
In cases of vitamin D deficiency, treatment is simple only vitamin D supplementation is recommended as well as having food items rich in calcium.
Following steps are recommended :
- Increasing daily sun exposure(UVB)
- Making active dietary changes that mainly focuses on vitamin D
- taking fish oil supplements
- getting more exposure to UVB light
- consuming calcium and phosphorus rich food
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Get your vitamin D and calcium levels checked
- Take daily calcium and vitamin D supplements, if needed
- Adopting a diet plan that focuses on foods rich in vitamin D and calcium
- Spend more time outdoor
- Don’t shy away from sunlight
- Don’t skip your daily/weekly supplements