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I am a 68 year old female and have been told my vitamin d is very low; what is normal? My latest blood test my vitamin d was an eleven

By Anonymous July 9, 2018 - 3:35pm
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I've been told for 15-20 years that it was low & until it was higher my body wasn't able to absorb calcium. I have RA ; recently my rheumatologist has made me aware of the other problems associated with vitamin d deficiency

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HERWriter Guide

Hello Anon

Thank you for writing!

Vitamin D deficiency describes low levels of vitamin D in the blood. This condition can lead to a condition known as rickets in children. In adults it can lead to osteomalacia . These are two forms of bone diseases that weaken bones.

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by:

Inadequate intake of vitamin D in the diet
Limited exposure to sunlight
Kidney disease
The inability to absorb vitamin D from the digestive tract
Medications that interfere with vitamin D use by the body, such as:
Prednisone drugs
Weight-loss drug orlistat
Cholesterol-lowering medications such as cholestyramine
Anti-seizure medications such as phenobarbital and phenytoin

Risk Factors
The following factors may increase your chance of developing vitamin D deficiency:

Lactose intolerance
Strict vegetarianism
Infants fed only breast milk without vitamin D supplementation
Syndromes that cause fat malabsorption, like celiac sprue or Crohn's disease , cystic fibrosis , pancreatic or liver disease
Kidney disease
Darkly pigmented skin
Limited sun exposure

Symptoms include:

Diffuse bone and muscle pain
Muscle weakness
Hip pain
Difficulty walking, walking up stairs, and getting out of a chair
Some research also shows that vitamin D deficiency may also be related to depression

Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:

Vitamin D Supplementation
High doses of vitamin D are given for 6-12 weeks. This is followed by a lower dose of the vitamin. The doses are continued until blood levels return to normal.

Calcium Supplementation
Calcium plus vitamin D supplements may be given to increase D levels. This can also improve bone strength in older women with low vitamin D.

Light Therapy
Exposure to sunlight or UV radiation can increase D levels. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin when it is exposed to these light sources.

To help reduce the chances of getting vitamin D deficiency, eat a healthy diet. Foods are not naturally high in vitamin D. Many foods are enriched with vitamin D, such as milk, some fruits and juices, some flours and cereal products.

Additionally, the following groups of people should talk with their doctor about whether they need a daily vitamin D supplement:

Infants who are exclusively breastfed
People aged 50 and older
People living in northern latitudes (eg, New England, Alaska)
Women who wear robes and head coverings
People working in occupations that prevent sun exposure
People with darker skin (eg, African Americans)
People who are obese
People with fat malabsorption (eg, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis , celiac disease, liver disease, surgical removal of part or all of the stomach or intestines).

Anon, I hope this information helps-

July 10, 2018 - 5:18am
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