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Stem Cell Therapy May Eventually Help Patients With Rickets Disease

Stem Cell Therapy May Eventually Help Patients With Rickets Disease

Many children suffer from rickets disease all over the world. This condition is caused by a vitamin deficiency that generally occurs due to a lack of sunlight or proper nutrition during the developmental years. Stem cell therapy may offer patients with spinal deformities due to rickets a chance to heal.


What is Rickets Disease?


Rickets is a skeletal disorder that’s caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. These nutrients are extremely important for the development of strong and healthy bones. People with rickets may have weakened bones, stunted growth, and, in the most severe cases, skeletal deformities. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphate from your intestines. You can get vitamin D from various food products, including milk, eggs, and fish. Your body can also produce vitamin D when you’re exposed to sunlight for a period of time. A vitamin D deficiency makes it difficult for your body to maintain sufficient levels of calcium and phosphate. When this occurs, your body produces hormones that cause calcium and phosphate to be released from your bones. When your bones lack these minerals, they become weak and soft. Rickets is most common in children who are between 6 months and three years old. Children are at the highest risk of rickets because they’re still growing and developing their bone structures. Children might not get enough vitamin D if they live in a region with little sunlight, follow a vegetarian diet, or don’t drink milk products. Children of African, Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern descent are at the highest risk for rickets because they have dark skin.

Dark skin doesn’t react as strongly to sunlight as lighter skin does, so it produces less vitamin D. In some cases, the condition is hereditary. Our bodies produce more vitamin D when they’re exposed to sunshine, so you’re more at risk for rickets if you live in an area with little sunlight. You’re also at a higher risk if you work indoors during daylight hours. Treatment for rickets focuses on replacing the missing vitamin or mineral in the body. This will eliminate most of the symptoms associated with rickets. If your child has a vitamin D deficiency, your doctor will likely want them to increase their exposure to sunlight, if possible. They will also encourage them to consume food products high in vitamin D, such as fish, liver, milk, and eggs. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can also be used to treat rickets. Ask your doctor about the correct dosage, as it can vary based on the size of your child. Too much vitamin D or calcium can be unsafe. If skeletal deformities are present, your child may need braces to position their bones correctly as they grow. In severe cases, your child may need corrective surgery.


How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Patients With Rickets?


Although rickets is rare in the United States, stem cell therapy may offer patients all over the world a new chance to heal from this condition. Stem cells can be used in addition to vitamin therapy at a young age to prevent rickets from causing any serious damage to the bones. This therapy is still in the research and development phase and may take some time before it is accepted.

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