Rickets is a disorder caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. It leads to softening and weakening of the bones.
Osteomalacia in children; Vitamin D deficiency; Renal rickets; Hepatic rickets
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Vitamin D is absorbed from food or produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Lack of vitamin D production by the skin may occur in people who:
- Live in climates with little exposure to sunlight
- Must stay indoors
- Work indoors during the daylight hours
You may not get enough vitamin D from your diet if you:
lactose intolerant(have trouble digesting milk products)
- Do not drink milk products
- Follow a vegetarian diet
Infants who are breastfed only may develop vitamin D deficiency. Human breast milk does not supply the proper amount of vitamin D. This can be a particular problem for darker-skinned children in winter months (when there are lower levels of sunlight).
Not getting enough calcium and phosphorous in your diet can also lead to rickets. Rickets caused by a lack of these minerals in diet is rare in developed countries, because calcium and phosphorous are found in milk and green vegetables.
Your genes may increase your risk of rickets. Hereditary rickets is a form of the disease that is passed down through families. It occurs when the kidneys are unable to hold onto the mineral phosphate. Rickets may also be caused by kidney disorders that involve
Disorders that reduce the digestion or absorption of
Occasionally, rickets may occur in children who have disorders of the liver, or who cannot convert vitamin D to its active form.
Rickets is rare in the United States. It is most likely to occur in children during periods of rapid growth, when the body needs high levels of calcium and phosphate. Rickets may be seen in children ages 6 - 24 months. It is uncommon in newborns.