Without a proper diet or a serious lack of nutrition a person is making his or her self susceptible to all sorts of diseases. All people, young and old, need to have a healthy and nutritional diet if they want to avoid the many diseases caused by poor nutrition. One disease young children are at risk for is rickets. Rickets is caused by a vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus deficiency. Rickets is the softening and weakening of the bones in children. Skeletal deformities and fractures can occur because the bones are so soft and weak. Rickets is seen during periods of rapid growth because during growth a great deal of vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium are needed. “The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency, but lack of adequate calcium in the diet may also lead to rickets. Although it can occur in adults, the majority of cases occur in children suffering from severe malnutrition, usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood” (Rickets, 2007).
There a few ways to prevent rickets. The first being the consumption of vitamin D supplements. Sunshine and vitamin D rich foods also help with rickets. “Thanks to such supplements of vitamin D, nutritional rickets has become relatively rare in industrialized nations. It still occurs, for example, in breast-fed babies whose mothers are underexposed to sunlight and in dark-skinned babies who are not given vitamin D supplements” (Medicine Net, 2007). The longer a child is lacking vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, the worse the rickets will be.
Diet and nutrition play an important factor in human life and development. Without a proper diet or a serious lack of nutrition a person is making his or her self susceptible to all sorts of diseases. All people, young and old, need to have a healthy and nutritional diet if they want to avoid the many diseases caused by poor nutrition. One disease young children are at risk for is rickets. This paper will discuss and explain what rickets is, the causes, the affects, who is at risk, diagnosis, the prevention, and the treatment of this early childhood disease. What is rickets?
Rickets is the softening and weakening of the bones in children. Skeletal deformities and fractures can occur because the bones are so soft and weak. The word rickets is “supposed to be derived from the word "rachitis" meaning wrist (and also spine), as wrist deformities are common and obvious in rickets” (Rickets, 2007).This disease has been around for many years. “The disease itself had first been described by physicians in the mid 1600s, but it was then relatively rare. By the nineteenth century, however, as more and more families left the outdoor life of the farm for factory work in the smoggy air of industrial cities, rickets had become a plague all over Europe” (Conlan, 2003) Children’s bones were so soft, like cartilage, that the bones could not support the child’s own body weight and they would bend and distort. In the mild cases, children would be bow legged; whereas in cases more severe, children would have convulsions and difficulty breathing which would, oftentimes, lead to death.
For years scientists and doctors searched for a cure to this crippling childhood disease. Much research was conducted and finally it was learned that rickets is cause by a lack of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus. “The main function of the vitamin D hormone (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) is to help regulate calcium and bone metabolism. In concert with other hormones, especially parathyroid hormone (PTH), the vitamin D hormone closely regulates blood calcium to supply appropriate amounts of it to all cells. This task entails two main processes: the vitamin D hormone helps regulate absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine and the deposition of calcium in the bones” (Wardlaw, 246).
Thanks to the researchers, “by 1924, the practical...