Rickets is a disorder of the skeleton. Lack of phosphate, calcium or vitamin D can cause Rickets. These nutrients are very essential for development of healthy and strong bones. Bones get soft and weakened, body growth is stunted and skeletal deformities occur in severe cases of rickets.
The body is unable to maintain enough levels of phosphate and calcium with lack of vitamin D deficiency. When there is no proper Vitamin D level in the body, then hormones are produced by the body which leach phosphate and calcium from the bones. Lack of minerals in the bones makes the bones soft and weak.
Age, diet, geographic location, skin color and genes are some of the risk factors for Rickets. Children between the age of 6 and 36 months are at highest risk of developing Rickets. People living in regions where there is little sunlight, people who avoid milk products or follow vegetarian diet are more prone to get Rickets. The disease is hereditary in certain cases.
What are rickets in adults?
Symptoms of Rickets include deformities in the teeth, tenderness or pain in the bones of the spine, arms, pelvis or legs, cramps in the muscles, fractures in bones, short stature, stunted growth and skeletal deformities.
Diagnosis of Rickets is done by blood tests for measuring phosphate and calcium levels, physical examination to determine pain or tenderness in the bones and bone x-rays to check out deformities in the bones. Bone biopsy is done in rare cases in which a small bone section is removed and sent for analysis to the laboratory.
Treatment for Rickets include, replacement of missing minerals or vitamins in the body, increased exposure to sunlight and encouraging consumption of foods like eggs, milk and liver that are high in Vitamin D content. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can also be used in Rickets treatment. Braces may be needed for positioning bones in skeletal deformities in children. Corrective surgery may be necessary in severe cases. A combination of special Vitamin D and phosphate supplements may be advised to treat hereditary Rickets.
Vitamin D plays an important role in helping the body to absorb phosphate, phosphorous and calcium from the intestines. To prevent Rickets, Vitamin D can be best obtained from fish, eggs, milk and moderate exposure to sunlight. Also phosphate and calcium levels should be monitored regularly in patients suffering from kidney disorders.