Rickets, one of the bone diseases in children, is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency. We have included in our content what you need to know about this disease, which causes softening and weakening of the bones. In our article you will find answers to questions such as what is rickets, what are its causes and symptoms, is it genetic and how is it treated.
What is Rickets?
Rickets is a health problem that occurs due to a deficiency of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for the normal development of bones. This condition, especially seen in children, negatively affects growth and bone development.
Rickets is usually caused by factors such as insufficient exposure to sunlight, malnutrition or problems with the absorption of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus and ensures strong and healthy growth of bones. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of rickets.
Symptoms of rickets include weakened bones, curvatures (especially in the legs), stunted growth, muscle weakness, dental problems, shallowing of the ribs, and general weakness. Delayed teething in children may also be associated with rickets.
This health problem is treatable if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. In general, methods such as vitamin D supplementation, exposure to sunlight and a balanced diet are used. Vitamin D supplements are given at doses and times determined by the doctor. In addition, it is important that the diet is rich in calcium and phosphorus.
Rickets can cause permanent problems if left untreated. These can include bone deformities, short stature, dental problems, and muscle weakness. For this reason, regular health checks should be performed and necessary supplements taken for healthy bone development in children.
What Are the Causes of Rickets?
Rickets is a health problem that affects the normal development of bones and is often associated with vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus deficiency. Here are the main causes of rickets:
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is a vitamin that we get when we are exposed to sunlight or through certain foods. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health by helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Insufficient exposure to sunlight or insufficient vitamin D intake can lead to rickets.
Not enough nutrition
Lack of adequate calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D in the diet increases the risk of rickets. A nutritional program with adequate amounts of these nutrients is important for healthy bone development, especially in infants and children.
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding
Babies who are exclusively breastfed or babies who are fed milk with a low vitamin D content may have a vitamin D deficiency. Insufficient amounts of vitamin D in breast milk may require supplementation from other sources to meet the baby’s needs.
Certain digestive disorders can affect fat absorption, reducing vitamin D absorption. People with chronic digestive problems, in particular, may be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Dark-skinned people are less affected by sunlight in the production of vitamin D. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency is more common in dark-skinned individuals and the risk of rickets is higher.
In rare cases, genetic mutations or inherited diseases can also increase the risk of rickets. For example, hereditary diseases that affect vitamin D metabolism can cause rickets due to vitamin D deficiency.
What Are the Symptoms of Rickets?
Rickets is a health problem that affects the normal development of bones and is very common in children. Symptoms usually appear during the growing period and may include:
1. Bone weakness
Rickets leads to bone weakness due to a lack of minerals that bones need to be strong. In this case, the child’s bones can easily be broken or bent.
2. Curvature of the leg
A common symptom of rickets is curvature of the legs. Common types of leg curvature can be “O” or “X” shaped. This can affect the child’s ability to walk.
3. Growth retardation
Rickets can cause a child’s height and body weight to increase more slowly than normal. Children may not reach the expected growth rate for their age.
4. Muscle weakness
Rickets can cause muscle weakness. Children may feel weak and have difficulty participating in physical activities.
5. Dental problems
Rickets can affect tooth development. Delayed eruption of teeth or disruption of teething may occur. Weakening of the tooth enamel can also occur, which can lead to tooth decay and premature loss of teeth.
6. Shallow ribs
Rickets can cause shallow ribs. This can lead to chest deformity and difficulty breathing.
7. General weakness
Children with rickets often feel sluggish and weak rather than energetic. They may have difficulty with activities and may experience a feeling of fatigue.
These are common symptoms of rickets in children. However, they may not present in the same way in every child and the symptoms can be severe or mild. Symptoms can vary depending on the child’s age, nutritional status, and other factors.
Diagnosis of rickets
Certain tests are required to detect rickets. These tests are done to make a diagnosis. Your doctor may order tests such as bone film, blood test, calcium measurement, phosphorus measurement, and ALP measurement to detect rickets.
Based on the results of these tests and a physical exam, your doctor will determine if your child has rickets. In addition, telling your doctor about the symptoms you see in your child will aid in diagnosis.
Rickets is a health problem that affects the normal development of bones and can be controlled with proper treatment. Rickets treatment aims to replace the missing nutrients and support the healthy growth of bones. Here are some methods used to treat rickets:
Vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the leading causes of rickets. Vitamin D supplements are often used in treatment. Your doctor will determine the correct dose and duration depending on your child’s age and needs. Vitamin D supplements are usually given in liquid or drop form.
Exposure to sunlight
Sunlight enables the body to produce vitamin D. Sun exposure plays an important role in the treatment of rickets. The time of sun exposure of babies and children should be regulated by avoiding the intense hours of the sun and using sunscreen. Your doctor will advise you on the duration and frequency of sun exposure.
It is important to review the diet when treating rickets. Consumption of foods rich in calcium and phosphorus should be encouraged. Foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables and fish are sources of calcium and phosphorus and are important for bone health.
Physical activity is important for children with rickets. Physical activity helps strengthen muscles and make bones stronger. However, the activity level should be determined by the doctor, depending on the severity of the curvatures and the condition of the child.
Tracking and controls
Regular follow-up and checkups are important in the management of rickets. Your doctor will perform regular check-ups to monitor the child’s bone development and response to treatment. Adherence and progress is evaluated during follow-up.
Does rickets go away?
Rickets is not a difficult disease to treat. You just need to meet the vitamin D requirement that the body cannot get. However, it is very important to take it in certain doses. You can easily pass on rickets disease under the supervision of a doctor.
What happens if rickets is not treated?
If left untreated, rickets slows growth. As a result, your child will be smaller than other children after a while. In addition, when your child begins to walk, curvature of the legs begins to occur.
Who gets rickets?
Rickets is a disease most often seen in children aged 6-18 months suffering from vitamin D deficiency. While there are many causes, D deficiency is the most common cause of rickets. If you think your child has rickets, we recommend that you see a doctor.
Until what age is rickets treated?
There is no limit to the age at which rickets can be treated. Only the amount of dose to be administered increases with increasing age.
Is rickets genetic?
There are many reasons for the formation of rickets. One is a genetic disorder. Genetic disorder is also effective in the formation of rickets. If there is someone in your family who has had this disease, there is a possibility that your child will get it too.