Recognising low vitamin D levels

November 12, 2012

Recognising low vitamin D levels

Depending on the extent of your low vitamin D levels, symptoms that occur range from mild to severe. A mild vitamin D deficiency may cause a loss of appetite, diarrhoea, weight loss and insomnia. These symptoms can easily be mistaken for other conditions, however once a proper diagnosis has been made these symptoms of mildly low vitamin D levels are quite easy to treat. A severe vitamin D deficiency produces different symptoms, some of which can be serious. These can include an impaired immune system, chronic fatigue, muscle pain and fragile or soft bones. Further symptoms of very low vitamin D levels can include osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children. Not only this but low vitamin D levels can also lead to an increased risk or asthma, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. Breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men are the most likely forms to develop due to low vitamin D levels. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, the most commonly recognised symptom being a constant pain in the muscles and bones, make an appointment to see your doctor. Confirming a diagnosis of a vitamin D deficiency can easily be done with a blood test. Vitamin D supplements will probably be provided or you will be informed as to how to naturally increase your levels of vitamin D. The easiest way to get more vitamin D is to expose your skin to the sun as the vitamin is made in the skin during this time. It is thought that 20 minutes of sun exposure should be adequate. Any longer than this and you are at risk of sun damage.

There are also certain foods that you can add to your diet to improve upon your low vitamin D levels. Most dairy products, meat, eggs and fish contain vitamin D with sardines, salmon and beef liver being particularly good sources. Although eating these kinds of foods will certainly be beneficial, they cannot replace exposure to sunlight, as they simply will not provide an adequate amount by themselves. It is not unusual for people with low vitamin D levels not to experience symptoms in the beginning. Many people may benefit regardless of whether or not they have symptoms by eating more of these foods and spending a few minute in the sun each day.

When symptoms do appear, they can often be mistaken for many other conditions. One example is depression, which is a long-term symptom of low vitamin D levels. Depression can be caused by a huge number of factors and is a symptom of many conditions. This makes it very difficult to say for sure what the cause is and how best to treat it. If treatment for depression in the form of anti-depressant medications is not having any effect, it may be because the cause is physical rather than psychological. At this point blood tests should be taken, which should make it easier to determine the cause. Obesity is another condition, related to low vitamin D levels. People trying to lose weight and being unsuccessful despite regular exercise may find that they have a vitamin D deficiency. Once levels are brought back up to normal, many find it much easier to lose weight.

Category: Articles