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What is Rickets?

Rickets is a bone condition caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus in the body, which are all vital components of healthy bones. This condition is characterized by weak bones and bone deformities. Rickets may be inherited, or develop when the body does not get enough vitamin D or is unable to effectively process the available vitamin D. Children with a poor diet and low calcium intake, lactose intolerance, lack of exposure to sunlight or dark skin are at a higher risk of developing rickets. Babies feeding exclusively on breast milk for a long time are also highly susceptible to rickets as breast milk contains very low amounts of vitamin D.

Symptoms of Rickets

The symptoms of rickets include:
  • Weak muscles
  • Seizures
  • Decreased growth and slow development
  • Drowsiness
  • Widening of the ankle and wrist bones
  • Bowed legs
  • Deformities in the ribs and chest
  • Stooped or bent posture

Diagnosis of Rickets

Rickets is diagnosed by your physician based on your child’s symptoms and conducting a thorough physical examination. Your doctor may also order X-rays to detect the exact location of fractures caused by the condition, and blood tests to check the levels of calcium and vitamin D.

Immediate healing from rickets can be achieved with adequate vitamin D supplementation and calcium-rich foods. Inherited rickets is treated with hormonal therapy. Rickets can be prevented by maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D and including calcium-rich foods.

Other Conditions

  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore
  • Freeman Health System
  • Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

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