Five Signs You May be Low in Vitamin D
By Ronayne Herbert, RNP
Vitamin D deficiency has been gaining much attention in the past two decades. Recent studies have shown that decreased levels of vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’ can be responsible for all sorts of medical conditions from cancer to erectile dysfunction.
If you live in the northeast part of the country, you are likely aware that most of us are lacking in vitamin D. This happens solely because our body can manufacture vitamin D from sunshine and we do not get enough sunlight throughout the year, especially during the winter months.
People who are obese have less vitamin D in their blood. Studies show the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is as high as 90%. Then when someone has bariatric surgery, there is an even greater risk of deficiency since the person may already had a deficiency preoperatively.
Some people are very susceptible to vitamin D deficiency due to gastrointestinal malabsorption. If you have Crohn’s disease, chronic kidney disease or have had a malabsorptive bariatric surgery, you are at a much higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin supplementation may be recommended.
A simple laboratory test can determine if you are deficient in this vitamin. Your medical care provider can order this test and will note any clinical signs or symptoms that you may have. Chief among these signs is bone pain which can be a signal of a fracture. Muscular weakness especially in the muscles that help you stand from a sitting position is another sign. People with vitamin D deficiency may have difficulty walking or be noted to have a waddling gait. They may also suffer from muscle spasms and cramping. However, most people are totally unaware that their level is low until they have blood work that shows the deficiency.
Overall, it is an easily treated condition requiring vitamin D supplementation. So, if you are someone experiencing some of these signs or symptoms, you may want to ask your health care professional if they think a vitamin D level would be worth checking.