Rickets Disease

What is Rickets?

Rickets Disease

Rickets (also known as Osteomalacia, Renal Osteodystrophy among others) is a disease which occurs during the childhood of an individual, which involves softening and weakening of the bones caused by lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate.

A lack of Vitamin D is the result of a loss of the mineral calcium from the skeleton. Due to this, bones become flexible and gradually are shaped by weight bearing forces which get exerted on them, which leads to body-structure deformities. Calcium and phosphate is lost from the bones, which eventually causes destruction of the supportive matrix.

Symptoms of Rickets

Infant rickets symptoms:

  • Deformed skulls
  • Late-closing fontanelles
  • Rib-breastbone joint enlargement
  • Delayed sitting
  • Delayed crawling
  • Delayed walking

Other symptoms include:

    Spinal Curvature
  • knobbly enlargements on the ends of bones (arms, legs, spine, pelvis)
  • Bowing legs under weight
  • Forward projection of the breastbone (pigeon chest)
  • Bumps in the rib cage (rachitic rosary)
  • Asymmetrical or odd-shaped skull
  • Distorting pelvis under weight
  • Spinal curvature (spine curves abnormally, including scoliosis or kyphosis)
  • Delayed formation of teeth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Impaired growth and/or short stature (adults less than 5 feet tall)

Rickets Treatment

Rickets can be treated by relieving the symptoms and correcting the cause of the condition. To prevent recurrence, the underlying cause must be treated.

To eliminate most of the symptoms of rickets, deficient calcium, phosphorous and/or Vitamin D must be replaced. In order to replace Vitamin D, its dietary intake must be increased. These include fish, liver and processed milk. If the disease is caused due to metabolic abnormalities, a special prescription of Vitamin D must be taken.

Bracing or positioning may be used to prevent or reduce deformities. However, some surgery may be required in case of skeletal deformities.

Renal causes of malabsorption of Vitamin D should be treated quickly by monitoring levels of calcium and phosphorus on a daily basis.

Preventing Rickets

Precautions must be taken from a young age, to prevent children from developing the disease. It may be avoided by having the child maintain an adequate intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D into the system. If the child has certain disorders (e.g. gastrointestinal disorders), then dietary supplements may be required.

If your family has a history of the inherited disorders that can cause rickets, then please opt for genetic counselling.

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