Rickets is a bone disease seen in children with severe vitamin D deficiency. Children with rickets have weak and soft bones, stunted growth, and, in severe cases, skeletal deformities like abnormal bowing of legs.
Some studies show that over 70% Indian population suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
How is rickets diagnosed?
Rickets can be diagnosed clinically and with simple blood tests and x-rays.
Treatment for rickets
Effects of rickets on bone can be reversed if treatment is started early. Treatment consists of high dose of vitamin D supplemented with calcium. Bracing of the joints can sometimes help in achieving correction.
Once the child matures the bony deformities become permanent. In these cases the only treatment is to do operative correction.
Vitamin D is important for absorption of calcium from our intestine and depositing it in our bones. Lack of vitamin D invariably causes defect in mineralization of our bones.
This leads to softning of the bones which is prone to fractures. In early stages there may not be any symptoms. With the progress of the disease there may be dull aching body pain, lack of energy, muscular pain etc. In some cases the bones become very soft and fractures easily.
Diagnosis of osteomalacia:
It can be easily diagnosed by blood test estimating vitamin D.
X-rays can show small cracks in the bones throughout your body. These cracks are called Looser’s transformation zones. Fractures can begin there with even small injuries.
What is the treatment:
Treatment is aimed at correcting the vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D supplements are now available in many forms including tablets, capsules, powder, liquid and injection.
In most patients weekly high dose is given for a few weeks to rebuild vitamin D store quickly. Following which a daily or monthly maintenance dose is recommended.
Dr. Manoj Kumar Khemani has over 10 years’ experience in diagnosing and treating vitamin D deficiency.