Remember, in our Soviet and post-Soviet childhood there was no more insulting name-calling than the word “rickets”, released with a fair amount of contempt? The rickets called all thin, slender children, girls with crooked legs, even if they were born from them, as they say wheel. And not always these guys actually had rickets.
Now, little has changed. In the usual sense, rickets is something terrible and nightmarish. Parents are shocked when they hear this diagnosis from a doctor. They do not understand what they did wrong, and how such a great misfortune happened precisely in their quite prosperous and well-fed family. Evgeny Olegovich Komarovsky, a pediatrician of the highest category, well-known in Russia and the world, is often asked about rickets and vitamin D.
What is rickets?
Rickets is a disease that occurs with a pathological deficiency in the body of vitamin D. Ailment affects young children and infants. When a child is ill, bone formation is disturbed, there are not enough minerals in it.
The disease was first identified and studied by doctors in the XVII century. At the beginning of the 20th century, physicians found a direct relationship between the occurrence of rickets and the eating of foods with vitamin D. Then it became fashionable to give a child fish oil.
Children who are rarely in the sun, receive insufficient nutrition, premature babies, crumbs with endogenous problems are most susceptible to the disease if the absorption of vitamin D in the intestines is disturbed, as is the case with a number of diseases of the liver and kidneys, as well as children of the Negroid race.
Babies who are breastfed by their mothers are less likely to have rickets, because with breast milk, they absorb about 70% of calcium, and artifacts can absorb only 30%.
The process of developing the disease is very complicated. As a result of disturbances in the metabolism that are caused by hypovitaminosis D, the work of other systems also changes – the production of enzymes, the nervous system suffers, but the most tangible blow of rickets still inflicts on the state of the bones of the child’s musculoskeletal system.
You can notice rickets at the initial stage when the child is 3-4 months old.
- The first will be neurological manifestations – sleep disturbance (the baby does not sleep well, often wakes up, often naughty and crying for no apparent reason), the baby becomes very shy, he is afraid of bright light, loud noises.
- Almost simultaneously with neuroscience eating disorders – appetite decreases, the baby sucks a breast slowly, reluctantly, throws it. He may have constipation.
- Sweating. Very often, parents sound the alarm when they notice that the pussy often sweats. Sweating with rickets has its own individual handwriting. It is aggravated in sleep, legs and scalp especially sweat. This process is accompanied by a rather severe itching, the baby rubs his head against the diaper, because of this, baldness occurs in the back of the head. Sweat in a rickety kid has a rather peculiar sour and sharp smell.
- Reduced muscle tone. This symptom does not always occur.
- Bone changes not observed in the initial stage of the disease, but later, about a month after the onset of the disease. The strength of the bones of the chest and limbs is reduced, and the frontal and parietal tubercles of the skull strongly protrude. The bones of the skull soften and become thinner. Many of these changes will remain with the child even after recovery, even when he grows up and becomes an adult. In girls, narrowing of the pelvic bones is possible. This may then cause difficulties with the bearing and birth of children naturally.
- Swollen belly. This disproportion looks like a frog’s tummy and is called the association “frog belly”, respectively.
- Mental retardation and lag in physical development.
In developed countries, rickets is found in no more than 10 children per million people. In Russia, about half of the children make such a diagnosis. Perhaps the reason is not a good quality approach to diagnosis. The fact is that our pediatricians in the old manner make an opinion on the basis of the above symptoms. European doctors do not do that; they do not believe that rickets can be delivered if the child has one or two or even the entire list of characteristic signs.