Did you know that lack of enough sun exposure leads to lack of vitamin D? Rickets is a condition brought on by a lack of vitamin D, which causes the body to be unable to absorb or deposit calcium.
Causes of Rickets
- Vitamin D deficiency: It is the most common cause of rickets. Unlike vitamin C, the human body is able to produce vitamin D, but only if it has the metabolic precursors available to it. When the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light (such as from the sun), cholesterol in the skin reacts and forms cholecalciferol, which is then processed in the liver and kidneys to create the active form of vitamin D.
- lack of calcium or phosphorus
- Constantly staying indoor
What to do
- Cholecalciferol can be directly taken as a vitamin supplement or acquired from eating organ meats and oils, such as cod liver oil, allowing the body to resume producing vitamin D.
Rickets is a condition of children, as the deficiency’s most severe effects are on developing bones; in adults, “bone-softening,” can be caused by the same vitamin deficiency.
But in adults, it both takes significantly longer to develop and tends to cause tip-off signs that something is wrong before bone warping sets in, such as extreme pain in the bones, and unexplained muscle weakness.
In children, especially those that don’t or can’t receive regular check-ups, deformity and debilitation by the deficiency is often only noticed after significant damage has been done to their developing skeletons.
The most telling symptoms of rickets are at the epiphyses (growth plates) of bones: The body is unable to lengthen bones by depositing calcium, and ends up with bones that flare outward in a “cupping” appearance. This leads to costochondral swelling, or what’s known as the “rachitic rosary” along the ribcage of the child, as well as widened wrists and “thick” joints. Before widened wrists or rachitic rosary appears, the softening of the skull bones can lead to “Caput Quadratum” a square-headed appearance, and often the first sign of skeletal growth problems. If left untreated, rickets also can cause an extremely curved back, stunted growth and frequent fractures all of which can lead to permanent and debilitating deformity.