Bone health for your tots

Published: 28th January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2015 12:11 AM   |  A+A-


Weak bones in children can cause serious problems like pathological fractures, bow knees and knock-knee deformities. All of these can threaten the child’s health and may cause him or her to become permanently disabled if not treated on time, say health experts.

Developing countries face serious problems of malnutrition and that leads to a very serious condition called rickets. This condition usually occurs  due to a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D and is a most disabling disease in children. Lack of awareness about children’s health and nutrition also plays a major role in these diseases and it is absolutely imperative for growing children to get adequate calcium.

Dr Naveen Ramanaik Hoysala, consultant orthopedic arthroscopic and joint replacement surgeon, Fortis Hospitals Bangalore, says, "For growing children and teens, getting enough calcium is crucial to the building of bone mass, which may help guard against osteoporosis and fractures later in life"

Since calcium is an essential element for bones, a deficiency of calcium affects bones most severely. One of the initial symptoms of calcium deficiency is muscle cramps. Muscle aches, especially those of the thighs, arms, and underarms while moving and walking around may be a sign of calcium deficiency.

Another important sign of this deficiency in the body is insomnia. In many cases, people who do not consume enough calcium in their diet suffer from loss of sleep, opines Dr Hoysala.

Calcium is also an important constituent for our teeth. Thus, its deficiency in the body affects the teeth as well. Tooth decay is another sign of calcium deficiency in the body. Due to calcium deficiency in childhood, there may be a delay in the start of tooth formation itself.

"Calcium deficiency results in poor bone density. This can be quite a serious condition for children as it may lead to easy fractures, muscular aches, spasms and – in extreme cases – rickets," says Dr Hoysala.

Our nails also require calcium in adequate amounts to grow healthy and remain strong. Weak and brittle nails are another important sign of its lack in the body  Not only that, late signs of puberty in the case of adolescent females are also a sign of calcium deficiency. Apart from delayed puberty in teens, other menstruation-related problems are also signs of  deficiency. Many teens suffer from pre-menstrual cramps due to the lack of this essential element, say experts in the medical field.

Calcium is really important for good health and shows its presence or lack thereof, everywhere. If you notice brittle nails, experience frequent muscle cramps and have rough hair, you should be on  alert for all of these symptoms of calcium deficiency.


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