Rickets disease

Rickets disease is a problem that is often found in young children, and it can cause deformity and fractures. This is because rickets causes the bones to soften due to a lack of Vitamin D and calcium. While rickets is not something that commonly occurs in developed countries, it is a serious problem that often affects children who live in countries and areas where they do not have access to proper nutritional items. It is also possible that this disease could also affect adults, and if it is found in adults it is often the result of a childhood where the patients were subjected to periods of starvation and malnutrition.

Since the bones need a lot of the proper nutrition in order to grow properly, rickets disease most commonly develops in children who are under the age of two years because this is the period of time when bones grow at a rapid pace. Some of the symptoms of rickets include tenderness in the bones, weakness in the muscles, fractures that occur with relative ease, bowed legs, deformity in the pelvic region, dental problems, muscle spasms, and a soft skull. If you have a relatively young child who is experiencing some of these symptoms then it is possible that they could be suffering from rickets.

In order to establish if the patient is suffering from rickets disease the doctor will need to take x-rays so that doctors can view the growth of the bones and blood work that will allow doctors to determine what the concentration of calcium and vitamin D are in the body. In rare cases a doctor may also order a bone biopsy to be certain of the development of rickets if the other methods do not confirm a positive diagnosis alone.

One of the sad facts about rickets disease is that it can cause permanent deformities in children who suffer from the disease if it is not caught early enough and treated. Although this is a disease that most commonly affects children in developing areas and places that are plagued by famine, it can also affect other children who do not have an adequate amount of vitamin D in their system. Sometimes this can be caused by a vegetarian diet and lack of exposure to sunlight. This is because two of the most common ways of getting vitamin D in a regular diet include the consumption of milk and dairy products as well as exposure to sunshine.

One of the reasons that a lack of vitamin D can cause rickets disease even if a child is getting proper amounts of calcium is that this particular vitamin is responsible for the absorption of calcium into the bones. Without vitamin D it is possible that the calcium that a child is getting is passing directly through their body without being properly used and this is what can cause the bones to weaken. Many times when young children are diagnosed with rickets the prescribed treatment is ultraviolet light therapy. This is because the best means for getting adequate vitamin D is by exposure to ultraviolet B light and if the patient is dark skinned, it is necessary that they get even more of this exposure than children who are fair skinned.

Since rickets disease can cause bones to fracture and break easily, it is something that can sometimes be misconstrued as child abuse. In addition to the risk of permanent deformity, this is one reason why it is very important to make sure that any child who is exhibiting symptoms of rickets disease get properly tested and diagnosed by a doctor.


Last updated on Nov 29th, 2009 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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