Rickets Disease: Definition, Causes – Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Home Remedies – Rickets is a bone growth disorder in children caused by vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D serves to aid the absorption of calcium and phosphate from food. Calcium and phosphate are minerals that are important for maintaining bone strength.
If the body is deficient in vitamin D, calcium and phosphate levels in the bones will decrease. As a result, the bones will soften and brittle.
Rickets usually occur in children aged 6 months to 3 years. Although it is common in children, this bone abnormality can also be experienced by older persons. Rickets in older persons are also called osteomalacia or soft bone disease.
What is The Rickets Disease?
Rickets are a disorder of growing bones, where calcium fails to be stored in the bone. As a result, the bones become soft and easily broken or shape-changing.
Around the world, the number of rickets is increasing due to the lack of exposure of babies and children to sunlight. This is further exacerbated by the habits of today’s children who spend more time indoors.
The disease is also common in children who are chronically malnourished and do not obtain vitamin D supplementation.
Rickets Disease Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of rickets is the deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D is useful as a substance that can absorb calcium and phosphate from food, in the absence of this vitamin D, the bones can get enough calcium. In the event of vitamin D deficiency, calcium and phosphate cannot be properly and optimally absorbed.
Vitamin D is obtained through sunlight and through foods such as fish oil, fish fat and egg yolks. Children who do not get enough sunlight and do not get foods that are a source of vitamin D will have a tendency to experience deficiencies of vitamin D.
Aside from errors in the source, problems can occur in the absorption process in the child’s body. On this absorption issue, the child has obtained enough sources of vitamin D, but his body does not sponsor the vitamin D. Some of the conditions that can cause this disorder include:
- Celiac disease.
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Problems with the kidneys.
Some factors that can increase a child’s risk of having a raft are:
- It has a dark skin tone.
- Mothers experience vitamin D deficiency while pregnant.
- Children born and live in areas of sparse sunlight.
- Children born prematurely.
- Drugs such as anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-viral drugs that can interfere with the absorption process of vitamin D in the body.
Signs and symptoms of rickets disease
Signs and symptoms of rickets disease include:
- Growth hampered.
- Pain in the spine, pelvis, and calves.
- Muscle weakness.
In rickets disease, there is a softening at the ends of the bone where there is a growth plate, this can result in bone abnormalities such as:
- Bent on the legs.
- Thickening of the bones in the wrists and ankles.
- The sternum becomes protruding.
Diagnosis of Rickets
Diagnosis to determine the rickets is carried out through a physical examination of the typical symptoms. There are also additional examinations in the form of laboratory and radiology examinations.
Laboratory examination is necessary to ensure calcium and alkaline phosphatase levels (enzymes produced by bone-forming cells) in the blood. Calcium levels in rickets sufferers are usually below normal. Meanwhile, levels of alkaline phosphatase usually increase.
Radiology or bone X-ray examinations
Radiology or bone X-ray examinations can also be performed. In this examination, there can be a decreased bone density, especially in the epiphyseal area of the bone (bone growth area).
Rickets Disease Treatment
Once your child is believed to have rickets, your doctor will recommend a wide range of treatments to speed up the healing process.
Treatment of the disease focuses on the return of vitamins and minerals lost to the body. With this step, the symptoms of the rickets are expected to decrease.
For example, if a child is deficient in vitamin D, the doctor will advise to increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D, such as fish, milk, liver, and eggs.
Additional vitamin D and calcium can also be obtained from supplements. The addition of vitamin D as much as 1000-2000 international units (IU) per day will usually be prescribed by a doctor. Make sure you always consult a doctor regarding the dosage of supplements that suit your child’s condition. Too much vitamin D and calcium are also harmful to health.
To correct unnatural bone shapes, your child may have to wear a tool that can improve the shape of the bone. In rare cases, the child may have to undergo a bone repair surgery procedure.
What are some lifestyle changes or home medications that can be made to overcome the rickets?
The main steps that can be taken to overcome or prevent rickets of course by meeting the intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D can be obtained naturally from fatty fish, fish oil, and egg yolks.
The best source of vitamin D in natural foods is fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna. Other foods with fewer vitamin D levels include shiitake mushrooms and orange juice.
In addition, you can also try products that contain vitamin D, but make sure you consult a doctor first. These products include:
- Infant formula
- Milk, but not foods made from milk, such as yogurt and cheese
Check the label to determine the content of vitamin D in enriched foods. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements.
As a precaution, all infants who get exclusive breast milk are advised to receive 400 international units (IU) oral vitamin D supplements daily. In addition, breastfeeding mothers are also advised to take 4000 IU of vitamin D to increase vitamin D levels in breast milk.
Not only through food and supplements, sun exposure is also the best source of vitamin D. However, stay alert to the risk of skin cancer due to sunlight.
It is recommended that babies and young children be encouraged to avoid direct sunlight. It would be better if you always apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing on the child.
If you want to ask, consult a doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
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