What health problems can vitamin D deficiency cause in children?

The article was professionally consulted by Specialist Doctor II Le Thanh Cam - Department of Pediatrics - Neonatology, Vinmec Da Nang International General Hospital.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the metabolism and absorption of calcium and phosphorus for bone structure. Consequences of vitamin D deficiency in young children will reduce the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines, the body must mobilize calcium from the bones into the blood, causing disturbances in the calcification process in the bones, causing osteoporosis and rickets in children.

1. What phenomenon will children with vitamin D deficiency have?

Signs of bone changes can appear several months after vitamin D deficiency. Babies born to mothers with soft bones may develop rickets within 2 months of birth.
1.1. Early signs Including early signs of the nervous system such as:
The child is often fussy, has trouble sleeping, has trouble sleeping, sleeps or is startled due to nervous stimulation; Profuse night sweats, even in cold weather (thick sweats); The child has hair loss on the nape of the neck (licking sign); Children often have delayed physical development, decreased muscle tone (muscle), blue skin, enlarged spleen; Wheezing due to soft laryngeal cartilage - the muscles spasm causing the child to vomit, hiccup, or leak stool and urine. 1.2. Late signs The manifestations of bone disorders vary depending on the bone position, the age of the child and the severity of the disease:
Slow teething and unbalanced teeth, slow to roll, crawl, walk.. .; Wide fontanelle, soft fontanelle, long-lasting fontanel; In the bones, there is skull deformity, the skull is soft and concave (signs of craniosynostosis). The fontanelle is hollow, the joint grooves are enlarged, the head is easily deformed, the head is flat behind or on one side due to the lying position; Cranial tumor, usually in the forehead and parietal region; The head of the carpal bone is large, enlarged into a "wrist"; Rib chain and thoracic deformity, bow legs, scoliosis; May have convulsions due to hypocalcemia. Rickets is a primary disease in young children who will see their legs deformed and slow in physical development. Bone deformities in childhood can leave sequelae to adulthood, the spine can be hunched, crooked, and narrow in the pelvis.

2. What disease does vitamin D deficiency cause in children?

Thiếu vitamin D gây bệnh gì
Khi cơ thể của trẻ bị thiếu vitamin D có thể dẫn tới làm tăng nguy cơ mắc các bệnh tim mạch
2.1. Osteoporosis Having an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D is extremely important in maintaining bone density. Vitamin D deficiency depletes calcium levels, weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.
2.2. Asthma Vitamin D deficiency affects lung function and makes asthma worse, especially in children. Vitamin D may improve asthma by blocking inflammatory proteins in the lungs, as well as increasing the production of a protein that has anti-inflammatory effects.
2.3. Cardiovascular disease When a child's body is deficient in vitamin D, it can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, and an increased risk of death from this disease.
2.4. Allergies Children who are not getting enough vitamin D are more likely to develop food allergies.
2.5. Influenza Several studies show a link between vitamin D deficiency and respiratory infections. People with low vitamin D levels are more susceptible to illnesses like colds and flu than people with high levels of vitamin D in the body.
2.6. Oral health Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium and phosphorus - nutrients needed for bone growth. Vitamin D controls calcium levels in the blood, intestines, and bones. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency can lead to weaker tooth enamel. Several recent reports suggest a link between oral health and vitamin D. People with low vitamin D levels have a higher rate of tooth loss than those with high vitamin D levels.

3. What to do when vitamin D deficiency?

To determine if your child has a vitamin D deficiency, the doctor will order a simple blood test. The doctor can then advise the baby if vitamin D supplements are necessary. Note that there is no uniformity in vitamin D levels for each child because vitamin D levels depend on health conditions, age, ... of each child.

4. Prevention of vitamin D deficiency in children

Thiếu vitamin D gây bệnh gì
Đối với bé dưới 6 tháng tuổi: Nên cho trẻ tắm nắng và tốt nhất là để trẻ được bú sữa mẹ
For babies under 6 months old: It is best for babies to be breastfed because breast milk is rich in vitamin D. According to research, 80% of vitamin D is synthesized in the skin under the effect of direct ultraviolet rays. onto the skin; The remaining 20% ​​of vitamin D comes from breast milk and foods rich in vitamin D (meat, oily fish, sardines, eggs, avocados, mushrooms, beans, etc...); For babies from 6 weeks to 18 months: Should be used continuously every day 800 - 1,000 IU (if the baby is healthy); 1,500 IU (if baby gets little sun) and 2,000 IU (if baby has dark skin tone). Children from 18 months to 5 years old only use the above dose in the foggy season, with little sunlight; For children with rickets: Take 1,200 - 5,000 IU/day for 4 weeks, then continue to take a prophylactic dose; Encourage mothers to follow a nutritious diet for their children with a variety of foods, using foods rich in vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus...; Supplement vitamin D into children's daily menu with foods such as milk, cheese, cooking oil, cookies, cereals, nutritional powder...; Promote and support breastfeeding in the community; Prevention and treatment of diseases related to vitamin D (prolonged infections such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, measles, acute pancreatitis, nephritis...); Prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency (at medical facilities); In addition to ensuring that children are adequately supplemented with vitamin D, the role of nutrition education is very important. It is necessary to carry out mass education, propaganda in the community, and practical guidance so that families know how to prevent vitamin D deficiency through proper diet and sunbathing.
When realizing that a child has signs of vitamin D deficiency, parents can take the child to a reputable hospital specializing in pediatrics such as Vinmec Times City International General Hospital for advice and treatment.
In addition to dietary supplements, parents can give their children support foods containing vitamin D and essential micro-minerals such as zinc, lysine, chromium, selenium, ... to help fully meet their needs. nutritional needs in children. At the same time, these essential vitamins also support digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, help improve anorexia, and help children eat well.
>> Parents can learn more: MSc Vitamin D and infection resistance. Dr. Vo Khac Khoi Nguyen - Department of General Surgery - Vinmec Central Park International General Hospital.
Please regularly visit Vinmec.com website and update useful information to take care of your baby and family.

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