Brazilian Natural Medicine

Rickets: what it is, why it happens and how to treat it

Rickets is a childhood disease characterized by the absence of vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption in the intestine and subsequent deposition in bones. Thus, there is a change in the development of children’s bones, which may have primary or secondary causes:

  • primary ricketsin which there is vitamin D insufficiency or lack of calcium caused by long periods without exposure to the sun, low calcium intake or consumption of acidic substances that combine with calcium and are eliminated, such as fish mush;
  • secondary ricketswhich occurs as a consequence of a pre-existing disease, such as kidney disease, cancer or genetic alteration.

Treatment for rickets varies according to its cause, but in all cases vitamin D supplementation and dietary changes are required in order to consume foods rich in calcium.

Main changes associated with rickets

The symptoms of rickets can vary according to the stage of the disease. In the acute phase, there may be apathy, anemia, irritability and muscle spasms. In the chronic phase of rickets, there may be:

  • Knee varus with or without shinbones, in which the knees remain apart even when one ankle is touching the other;
  • Knee valgus with or without valgus tibiae, in which the knees are always in contact;
  • Thickening of the wrist and ankle joint, known as Marfan’s sign;
  • Dorsal column deformity, with kyphosis observed;
  • Changes in the basin;
  • Swelling in the ankle joint, known as Marfan’s malleolar rim.

In addition, in the most severe cases rickets can cause deformities in the skeleton, which can include bowed legs, delayed eruption of teeth, hypoplasia of dental enamel, muscle weakness, pain, thickening of the bones of the skull, called the Olympic forehead, and greater risk of infections. Know all the symptoms of Rickets.

When there is also a lack of calcium in the body, other symptoms may appear in addition to those mentioned, such as muscle spasms and cramps and tingling in the hands and feet, for example.

Causes of Rickets

The main cause of primary rickets is vitamin D deficiency, which affects the structure and development of bones. This is because calcium is better absorbed when eating foods rich in vitamin D, and therefore, when there is a lack of vitamin D, its absorption is affected. In addition, rickets can also be caused by a lack of calcium, which is essential for bone development.

Secondary rickets is determined by a pre-existing disease, such as kidney disease or cancer, interfering with the calcium absorption process. The use of anticonvulsants may also be related to secondary rickets.

There are also other, rarer forms of rickets, which originate from genetic mutations or other conditions that affect how minerals and vitamins are absorbed by the body.

How the diagnosis made

The diagnosis of Rickets can be made through a physical examination, where the doctor can check for short stature or decreased growth rate and the presence of skeletal deformities.

In addition, to complement the diagnosis, laboratory tests may be requested, such as calcium, vitamin D and alkaline phosphatase measurements, in addition to radiographic exams.

how is the treatment

The treatment of rickets is based on the replacement of vitamin D in the body, through the intake of supplements of this vitamin. In addition, it is important to increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D, such as cod liver oil, salmon, horse mackerel, boiled egg or canned sardines. Discover other foods rich in vitamin D.

Adequate doses of calcium and sun exposure should also be oriented. In the case of rickets secondary to other diseases, the disease responsible for the rickets should be treated.

When rickets is caused by a lack of calcium, its replacement can be done through the consumption of foods rich in calcium such as broccoli, cabbage or dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt, for example. See other foods rich in calcium.

The best way to prevent rickets is through a balanced diet consisting of foods rich in vitamin D and calcium, which must be recommended by the nutritionist and doctor, in addition to daily sun exposure at the indicated times.

Always consult a doctor.

Verified by RJ985 – Brazilian natural medicine

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