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The Who and What of Rickets Disease

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Rickets disease, which is more commonly known as osteomalacia for adults, is a medical condition that affects more children than you probably could imagine. So if so many young kids are suffering from it, let’s discuss exactly what it is and why they have developed it.

When I first learned the word rickets I assumed it was in the category of shingles or chicken pox, but I was wrong. It is actually a condition that softens and weakens the bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency. Just when I thought the necessity of the sun was a myth, it turns out I am wrong. But in all seriousness, this deficiency is essentially when you don’t get enough vitamin D so your body can absorb calcium and phosphorus. When these are not absorbed, your bloodstream will ultimately sense the imbalance and take the minerals it needs from your bones, rendering them weak. When your bones don’t get the nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy, that is when you start to show signs of rickets.

Rickets can go from bad to worse if left untreated. Infants from three to 36 months are at the highest risk because they are constantly growing and need calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus to grow properly and healthy. Whether or not you are familiar with rickets, it may be beneficial to understand the symptoms so you can get your child early treatment if detected. Keep a good eye on possible skeletal deformities and growth impairment which would include bowed legs, breastbone projection and spine curvature or delayed growth in limbs. An almost sure sign of rickets is if your child is spending more time in a cast than out of one due to “accidental” broken bones. In addition, if your child seems to have a lot of dental problems including loss of tooth enamel or frequent cavities there is a good chance they are facing this condition. Also, if you child complains of bone pain, tenderness and fatigue, or they feel muscle weakness you should see you doctor as soon as possible to detect if they are facing rickets.

If rickets is directly related to this deficiency opposed to a genetic factor, then generally speaking, it can easily be treated by adding vitamin D or calcium to your child’s diet. If you or your child is up against your family genes, your options may be limited in terms of making a complete recovery.

To find out more about how to treat rickets, preventative methods and potential complications, keep an eye out for my next article on this topic.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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