Osteomalacia the general term for the softening of the bones often referred to as Rickets in children, is a disorder of mineralization of newly synthesized organic matrix, leading to improper bone formation

Rickets is caused by an insufficient amount of activated vitamin D during childhood. The active form of vitamin D, calcitriol, acts as a hormone to regulate calcium absorption from the intestine and to regulate levels of calcium and phosphate in the bones.

In nutritional deficiencies of vitamin D, the body is unable to regulate calcium and phosphate levels. The body detects low serum levels of calcium and phosphate, stimulating the release of parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH helps release calcium and phosphate from the bones to the bloodstream. Decreased amounts of calcium and phosphate do not allow the bones to calcify properly.

Deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium, phosphorous or inadequate exposure to sunlight are the major causes of rickets.

Skeletal deformities develop in growing children who remain untreated for extended periods. Tibial involvement produces bowing of the legs. A rachitic rosary develops at the costochondral margin from the overgrowth of cartilage.



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