Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include: rickets, osteomalacia, and skin cancer. Although these conditions can be life threatening, they can also be prevented and treated.
Low vitamin D levels may contribute to neurological symptoms
Several epidemiologic studies have shown that low serum vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). Interestingly, a case-control study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine shows that individuals with serum vitamin D levels above 50 nmol/l are 65% less likely to develop PD than individuals with levels below 50 nmol/l. In addition, the study showed that those who had a serum vitamin D level above 50 nmol/l had a lower risk of developing recurrent autoimmune disorders.
The researchers also found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with an increased risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis. They noted that low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were associated with increased relapse rates in MS patients. These findings were based on laboratory tests that are not well covered by diagnostic code 331.0. Currently, the Institute of Medicine recommends that adults up to age 70 take at least 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day, and that children and adolescents take at least 400 IUs per day. However, they caution that estimation of total vitamin D intake is not as accurate as measuring blood levels.
Often caused by a lack of vitamin D, rickets are a disease of weak and brittle bones. They may be accompanied by bone pain and muscle weakness. Depending on the severity of the condition, children may need to undergo corrective surgery. If left untreated, the deformities may become permanent.
Rickets can be treated by calcium and vitamin D supplementation. A simple blood test can confirm a diagnosis, but it may also be necessary to perform X-rays and bone density scans. The condition usually affects children between six and 36 months of age.
Children with rickets have low levels of calcium and phosphate in their bodies. Their bones are weak, which makes them unable to bear weight. Rickets can be prevented by eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exposure to sunlight.
Children with rickets may also develop abnormal tooth development. Rickets may also cause chest deformities, which can lead to lung infections. Depending on the condition, your doctor may prescribe vitamin D supplements or phosphate supplements.
Deficiency of vitamin D is one of the most common causes of osteomalacia. It affects both children and adults. Deficiency may occur due to a number of factors.
Vitamin D deficiency is characterized by a low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level (25-OHD). This level is usually less than 10 ng/mL. Often, it may be lower than 15 ng/mL.
Osteomalacia can be diagnosed through a blood test, which measures levels of vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium. It may also be diagnosed through a bone biopsy, which involves the removal of a small sample of bone for microscopic evaluation.
Patients may also have low bone density and symptoms of bone pain. If osteomalacia is due to vitamin D deficiency, treatment may include calcium and phosphorus supplements. Depending on the severity of the disease, patients may also have other symptoms.
The symptoms of osteomalacia may be vague, so they may take several months to diagnose. They may include back and spinal pain, tenderness over pseudofractures, spinal curvature, and costochondral swelling.
Among people at risk of skin cancer, vitamin D deficiency is common. This is because sunlight is the main source of vitamin D. However, the amount of vitamin D from the sun is inconsistent. Some doctors warn against exposure to the sun, while others suggest using vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D deficiency is often linked to poorer outcomes in melanoma patients. However, the connection has not been well documented. The underlying mechanism is important for understanding if vitamin D-based therapy can improve outcomes.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase in mortality during follow-up. In addition, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased rate of melanoma progression. This suggests that optimizing vitamin D levels may lower the risk of cancer. However, large-scale prospective studies are needed to determine whether vitamin D supplementation is beneficial.
Researchers examined the relationship between serum 25(OH)D levels and clinical data. They found that vitamin D levels of less than or equal to 10 ng/mL were associated with a reduced overall survival. In addition, patients with vitamin D deficiency had a higher rate of melanoma progression, increased stage, and higher mitotic rate.