Vitamin D Deficiency in Elderly :
Is Your Loved One Getting Enough Vitamin D?
A lack of vitamin D is a common issue among people of all ages, but there is an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency in elderly adults. Oxford University Press estimates that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood and it is particularly prevalent among elderly people. Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with low bone mass and osteoporosis, which is estimated to affect 10 million U.S. adults over the age of 50.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body. Recent studies have discovered vitamin D goes beyond its well-known role in bone health and a golden tan. There is evidence of reducing the risk of diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and more. What makes vitamin D distinctive is that it is not only a vitamin, it is a hormone the body makes naturally from sun exposure. People get vitamin D in three ways: through skin absorption, diet, and from supplements.
Signs that your older loved ones are not getting adequate vitamin D are frequently subtle and often mistaken for other health conditions.
Common Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency:
- Being elderly
- Having dark skin which limits the creation of vitamin D
- Being overweight or obese
- Not eating enough fish or dairy
- Living far from the equator/where there is less sun year round
- Staying indoors/reduced sun exposure
- Gastrointestinal diseases and chronic illnesses such as malabsorption disorders or reduced renal function
Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:
- Tiredness and Fatigue
- Muscle Pain
- Overall Weakness
- Weight Gain
- Bone and Back Pain
- Getting Infections and Sick Regularly
- Impaired Wound Healing
- Bone Loss
- Hair Loss
- Cognitive Impairment
How to Fix a Vitamin D Deficiency in Elderly
Fixing a vitamin D deficiency is simple and can have significant health benefits. Talk to your loved one’s doctor and request that their blood levels are measured. If there is a vitamin deficiency discuss options including increasing sun exposure and possible vitamin D supplements. Adding more vitamin D rich foods into their diet, such as fatty/oily fish or fortified dairy products will help.