Rickets are defined as the softening of bones in children, due to the deficiency or impaired metabolism of Vitamin D, phosphorus, or calcium. Rickets can lead to fractures or deformity and is the most frequent type of childhood disease in many 3rd world countries. The lack of calcium in a child’s diet may lead to Rickets, which can be cause by severe diarrhea, vomiting, or severe malnutrition. While this can occur in adults, famine or starvation can lead to this during the early years of development. The adult version of this condition, Osteomalacia, is typically caused by the lack of Vitamin D in one’s diet.
Symptoms for Rickets include bone pain, dental issues, muscle weakness, susceptibility to fractures, and skeletal deformity. The primary cause of Rickets is the lack of Vitamin D, which is required for calcium to be absorbed by the gut. Sunlight and other UV light lets human skin cells convert Vitamin D to an active state, but in the absence of Vitamin D, dietary calcium is not properly absorbed. The result of this is Hypoalcaemia, leading to skeletal and dental deformities.
Treatment of Rickets includes increasing dietary intake of calcium, Vitamin D and phosphates. Other treatments include cod liver oil and halibut-liver oil, which are excellent sources of Vitamin D. Also, spending time in the sun each day and receiving ultraviolet B light can help in Rickets prevention. For those that do not have access to sunlight, a Vitamin D supplement can also be beneficial for Rickets prevention.