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A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Rickets


Rickets: Rickets is the softening and weakening of bones in children due to extreme and prolonged vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract. A deficiency of vitamin D makes it difficult to maintain proper calcium and phosphorus levels in bones. This can cause rickets. If a vitamin D or calcium deficiency causes rickets, adding vitamin D or calcium to the diet generally corrects any resulting bone problems for your child.

Signs and Symptons: Rickets can lead to bone pain, poor growth and deformities of the skeleton, such as bowed legs, curvature of the spine and thickening of the ankles, wrists and knees. Children with rickets are also more likely to fracture their bones.

Any child whose diet does not contain enough vitamin D or calcium can develop rickets, but the condition is more common in children with dark skin (as this means more sunlight is needed to get enough vitamin D), children born prematurely, and children taking medication that interferes with vitamin D.

Rickets can easily be prevented by eating a diet that includes vitamin D and calcium, as well as spending some time in sunlight. The hands and face only need to be exposed to the sunlight for about 15 minutes a few times a week during spring and summer to provide you with enough vitamin D.

Rickets due to a genetic condition may require additional medications or other treatment. Some skeletal deformities caused by rickets may need corrective surgery.

If your child has any symptoms of rickets, take them to your doctor for a check-up. Your doctor will usually carry out a physical examination to check for any obvious problems. They may also discuss your child’s medical history, diet, family history and any medication they are taking.

 


Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies

 


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