Researchers estimate that approximately 50 percent of the population in the United States and about 95 percent of U.S. seniors has a vitamin D deficiency. Children are also at high risk, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that about 70 percent of children aged six to 11 and about 50 percent of children under five are vitamin D deficient. The following are a few ways to tell if you have a vitamin D deficiency and some preventative and treatment tips.
Depression and Fatigue
If you feel low and aren’t motivated to get up and do anything, it may be a sign of a vitamin D deficiency. Serotonin levels directly correspond to vitamin D levels, with those at the lowest levels being much more likely to be depressed. Since sunlight on the skin is the best way to receive vitamin D, getting more sun or investing in an indoor sun lamp may help to boost your mood and give you more energy.
General Aches and Pains
A vitamin D deficiency can cause bone pain and muscle weakness, which may vary in severity and location. If there is no alternative reason for general aches, taking a vitamin D supplement may help you to receive adequate quantities of the vitamin and to better process calcium. Since calcium is important in bone and muscle health, it may be helpful to make sure you are receiving adequate calcium and to try to consume calcium and vitamin D together.
Recurring Illness and Infections
If you keep getting sick or suffering from infections, inadequate vitamin D levels as well as other vitamins may be to blame. A simple blood test at the doctor’s office can tell you whether you have a deficiency of vitamin D or if the problem stems from another cause. This test may be covered completely or in part by your health insurance. Once a deficiency has been identified, your doctor can help you figure out the best way to increase vitamin D levels, whether through diet, sunlight, or supplements.
Head sweats are a common sign of vitamin D deficiency, especially in young children and pregnant women. If this sign is present in children, it is especially important to take fast action to correct the deficiency, as rickets may develop. Rickets are a weakening and softening of the bones due to long-term vitamin D deficiency. If head sweats are present, supplements and dietary changes may help to correct the problem. If a rickets diagnosis is made, surgery and additional treatment may be needed.
If you think you might need a professional opinion, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Give us a call if you need help with your insurance, whether it’s preparing to enroll for a new plan or figuring out your existing plan.