What Is Rickets?
There is more than one type of rickets. X-Linked hypophosphatemia, also known as vitamin D-resistant rickets (VDRR), is a genetic metabolic condition. VDRR is sometimes treated with medications that help the body process the raw materials necessary for healthy bone formation. VDRR is rare and not curable.
The rickets more commonly seen is a non-genetic condition brought on by a lack of vitamin D. Symptoms include bowed legs, bone pain, stunted growth, soft skulls, high fevers, seizures, and protruding bellies. Vitamin D helps the bones absorb calcium, so when a child doesn't get enough of it, his bones are weakened and can't support the weight of the body, thus the bowing of the legs. If left untreated, rickets can eventually turn fatal.
But even a minor vitamin D deficiency is unhealthy. In children, lack of vitamin D can result in frequent bone fractures; in adults, it can lead to osteoporosis.