What Is Rickets?

By kara
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The human skeleton is designed to offer support and provide structure to the rest of the body. In healthy individuals, it is made up of hard, strong bones. However, some people develop soft and weak bones: a condition called rickets or, when it manifests in adults, osteomalacia.

Rickets can also affect bone development in some children. While once a relatively common occurrence, improved nutrition and medical care have made a diagnosis of rickets much less common. It can only be diagnosed by a medical professional.

1. What Causes Rickets?

Rickets occurs when the body is unable to absorb enough calcium to maintain bone structure. The most common cause of that is a lack of vitamin D, which the body needs to absorb and utilize calcium. Along with phosphorous, it enables the absorption of calcium from food. However, when vitamin D levels are low, the body cannot access that calcium, resulting in soft and weak bones. They may also become deformed and break more easily than usual.

A lack of vitamin D isn’t the only reason a child’s body might not absorb enough calcium. Certain medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, irritable bowel disease and some kidney problems, can also cause poor calcium absorption.


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