What is Rickets : Rickets can be defined as a skeletal disorder that results from a lack of important nutrients for the development of bones and giving them strength and health, and these elements are vitamin D , calcium, and phosphorous, and with regard to the prevalence of this disease, children aged 6 years are considered -36 months are the most affected by rickets, because children at this stage are still in the process of development, and in the context of this conversation we point out that the reasons for the occurrence of this condition may sometimes be hereditary, while in other cases the infection may be attributed to the lack of Children get enough vitamin D; Because they live in places with less sunlight, or if they follow a vegetarian diet, or as a result of not eating dairy products.
According to the statistics of the United States, rickets is considered rare, as the emergence of this disease disappeared in developed countries during the forties as a result of the introduction of fortified foods, such as grains with added vitamin D.
Major Symptoms of Rickets
In fact, the symptoms of rickets may vary in severity and may not be continuous. It often appears intermittent, and the following is an explanation of the most prominent signs and symptoms that may accompany the disease:
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- Tilt or slope of the infant’s limbs.
- Bone pain.
- Feeling pain when touching the bone.
- Bones break easily.
- Swollen cartilage of the ribs (in English: Costochondral) or the protrusion of nodes on the bone between the ribs and the breastplate (in English: Breastplate).
- Harrison’s groove, represented by a visible horizontal line across the chest; Specifically on the area that connects the diaphragm to the ribs.
- Decreased levels of calcium in the blood.
- Softness of the skull.
- Short stature and low weight.
- Abnormalities of the spine , pelvis, or skull. Bowed legs in young children who started to walk.
- Suffering from muscle spasms that cannot be controlled that affect the entire body.
- The width of the wrists.
- Dental deformities, which are delayed formation of teeth, the appearance of holes in the enamel layer, abscesses, defects in the tooth’s structure, or an increase in the number of cavities.
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Causes and Risk Factors of Rickets
As we mentioned earlier, the disease rickets occurs as a result of a deficiency of one of three elements, and as is known, vitamin D is important to achieve the absorption of both calcium and phosphorous in food, and from here it is possible to infer the extent of the influence and importance of vitamin D and its association with other elements, and it can be said that the disease Rickets may occur if you do not get enough of these elements or if there is a problem that prevents the body from dealing with vitamin D properly; Such as having certain problems that affect the absorption of this vitamin, including wheat allergy disease also known as Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, or kidney problems, and it is mentioned that there are many factors that increase the risk of developing disease Rickets, we mention the following:
Owning dark skin: As this type of skin reacts to the sun’s rays in a weaker way compared to light-colored skin, and this in itself causes it to produce less vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency in a pregnant woman: This may cause the birth of a child with signs of rickets, or the signs associated with this disease may become clear and appear within several months after birth.
Living in certain areas: Living in certain geographical places that are exposed to small amounts of sunlight contributes to an increased risk of rickets.
The occurrence of premature labor: The premature birth of the child makes him more vulnerable to rickets.
Taking certain types of drugs: Many drugs affect the body’s ability to use and benefit from vitamin D, including antiepileptic drugs or antiretroviral drugs, which are used to treat HIV infection (in English: Human Immunodeficiency Virus), for short (HIV).
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The child’s dependence on breastfeeding only: as breast milk does not contain enough vitamin D to prevent the child from developing rickets, and here we stress the importance of the child getting drops of vitamin D if he is limited to breastfeeding .
Poverty and malnutrition: Poverty may prevent the child from obtaining adequate and appropriate nutrition, and according to statistics, rickets is more common in regions of the world that suffer from severe drought and famine.
Diagnosis of rickets
A doctor can diagnose rickets disease by conducting a physical examination of the child, it can be through the pressure on the bone gently to detect the extent of the presence of bone pain or bone pain when touching, and there are many tests that will help diagnose rickets disease, include the following:
A blood test to detect calcium and phosphorous levels in it.
Bone X-ray examination to detect abnormalities in the bones .
A bone biopsy, as this is done in some, but not all, cases, and is the removal of a very small portion of the bone, after which the sample is sent to the laboratory for appropriate analysis.
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