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Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays an important role in the absorption of calcium from food and thus make your bones strong. Deficiency of vitamin D may be caused due to less exposure to sunlight, milk allergies or adherence to a strict vegan diet. Vitamin D deficiency is known to play an important role in prevalence of conditions such as rickets, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and infections such as tuberculosis.

Although India is a tropical country with plenty of sunshine in most areas, excessive clothing that limits sun exposure and poor nutrition is mostly responsible for vitamin D deficiency. This condition is an epidemic in India with literally 70% of the general population affected.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

Most patients might not experience any symptoms. However, if you have issues such as bone pain and muscle weakness, you must undergo a test to check vitamin d deficiency. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

  1. Muscle weakness
  2. Thinning or brittle bone
  3. Mood changes
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Fatigue and tiredness
  6. Bone and back pain
  7. Impaired wound healing
  8. Unexplained infertility

 

Diagnosis of Vitamin D deficiency:

Blood test: Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D(25(OH)D) is used to determine vitamin D deficiency. Assessing the blood concentrations of calcium, phosphorus (fasting), and parathyroid hormone and alkaline phosphatase also aids its diagnosis.

Standard guidelines are given by endocrine society to measure the levels of vitamin D in the body are as follows:

Interpretation Levels of  25(OH)D
Deficiency Below 20ng/ml
Insufficiency 21 – 29ng/ml
Adequate 30-60ng/ml

 

The normal blood levels of calcium, phosphorus and parathyroid hormone are as follows:

Normal Levels
Calcium 8.5-10.2 mg/dL
Phosphorus 2.5-4.5 mg/dL
Parathyroid 10-65 pg/mL

 

In children, serum concentrations of 25(OH)D of <37 nanomol/L (<15 nanograms/mL) is usually associated with vitamin D-deficiency rickets. The blood calcium may be normal or low and phosphorus is usually low-normal or low. The serum alkaline phosphatase and parathyroid levels are usually elevated.

In adults, there are no skeletal manifestation associated with low Vitamin D. Instead, low vitamin D causes secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Imaging:

X-ray: X-rays of knees and wrists would be prescribed if the doctor suspects that the patient may have rickets or osteomalacia.

Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry: This test would help in detecting low bone density(osteoporosis/osteopenia) in patients with chronic vitamin D deficiency.

Medical treatment for vitamin D deficiency

Commonly prescribed forms of vitamin D supplements for Vitamin D deficiency are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D3 is a preferred supplement as it is naturally extracted and is more effective.

Prevention of vitamin D deficiency

  • Eat vitamin D rich foods: Fortified cereals, oranges, egg yolk, mushroom, fatty fish, cod liver oil, and fish eggs are rich sources of vitamin D.

  • Sun exposure: Move out your houses and get some sunlight between 10 am to 3 pm daily. You can get two times more Vitamin D from sunlight when compared to the dietary sources.

Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?

We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.

For appointments, please call 4444 2424.

References

  1. Vitamin D deficiency: symptoms, causes and prevention. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318060.php. Accessed on 4-10-2017
  2. Ritu G and Ajay Gupta. Vitamin D Deficiency in India: Prevalence, Causalities and Interventions. Nutrients. 2014 Feb; 6(2): 729–775.
  3. Vitamin D deficiency. https://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/article.htm. Accessed on 5-10-2017
  4. Patient education: vitamin D deficiency. https://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/article.htm. Accessed on 5-10-2017
  5. Vitamin D deficiency and related disorders treatment and management. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/128762-treatment#d9. Accessed on 5-10-2017

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