Rickets is a bone softening disease that had become so rare the government stopped keeping statistics on it, but are now seeing an alarming increase.
Rickets stems from a vitamin D deficiency that causes bones to soften and bend, usually resulting in bowlegs and was once a major health problem.
The body may compensate for a lack of vitamin D by drawing calcium and phosphate from bone, causing bones to progressively soften and weaken. However, we're now told that the addition of vitamin D to milk in the 1930's virtually eliminated the disease.
Researchers attribute the trend to the comeback to increased use of milk substitutes that lack certain nutrients and to children not getting enough sunlight, which helps the skin produce vitamin D. Also attributable are the facts that children don't play outside as much as they used to due to mother's having to drop them off at day care centers as well as trying to protect their children's skin with sunscreen when they are outside. The sunscreen issue is posing a dilemna for health officials, as they are the ones who have long urged parents to protect their children from the ultraviolet rays.
Officials are increasingly becoming more concerned about this and you know the old saying, an ounce of prevention...
Symptoms to watch out for:
Children with rickets experience pain in bones and increased tendency toward fractures. Other symptoms include impaired growth, bowlegs, teeth deformities, fever and muscle cramps.
If you think your child or grandchild could be at risk, by all means, have a doctor check him or her out.