Rickets - Noah Mills




Noah Mills



Rickets is a condition in children in which the bones soften/weaken. This softening/weakening of the bones can cause numerous symptoms such as bowed legs, delayed/stunted growth, pain in the bones themselves, trouble sleeping, etc. Additional problems associated with Rickets can include fractures, spasms of the muscles, an unusually curved spine, and intellectual disabilities. Rickets is usually the result of a long/serious vitamin D deficiency; however, this can also result from maternal deficiencies when there is a sharing of blood. Additionally, rickets can be the result of the body not being able to properly use/absorb vitamin D. Vitamin D itself is vital in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, thus a deficiency can lead to the body struggling to maintain these minerals which can ultimately result in rickets. Reasons for this vitamin D deficiency can be due to a lack of vitamin D in the diet, little exposure to the sun, or other possibilities.


Regarding treatments for rickets, if it is due to a vitamin D deficiency, it will be treated with vitamin D itself along with calcium. After the vitamin D/calcium treatment, improvement can often be seen within a few weeks; even if there are bone deformities these may improve after the treatment, although, surgery may be required in some circumstances. Prevention is important regarding rickets, adequate sunlight and/or vitamin D in the diet will go a long in avoiding this condition.


With respect to statistics, in developed countries, rickets is a very rare condition with an incidence rate of less than 1 in 200,000. In England in 2013-2014, there were only 700 cases of rickets. In the middle-east, even with frequent sunlight, the highest rates of rickets in the world are found. This is due to inadequate sun exposure as a result of cultural practices and a result of no vitamin D supplements for breastfeeding women. In adolescent girls, from Iran and Saudi Arabi, 70% to 80% have a vitamin D deficiency.


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