Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms, Risk Groups, Treatment

Vitamin D deficiency often develops gradually. It is all the more important to spot the first signs quickly. But how do they express themselves, who belongs to a special risk group, and how can a vitamin D deficiency be remedied quickly?

How can a vitamin D deficiency be recognized?

A lack of vitamin D mainly affects calcium and phosphate metabolism. In infants and young children, it leads to deformed bones (rickets) because calcium is gradually released from the bones and makes them unstable. Older children and adults experience a softening of the bones, also known as osteomalacia, as a result of this so-called demineralization. Muscle weakness, bone-muscle pain, but also an increased susceptibility to infections are the result.

  • Signs of rickets in children
  • Growth failure and lack of appetite
  • weakness and muscle cramps
  • joint and bone pain
  • Late teething
  • Hyperexcitability of muscles and nerves/muscle spasms
  • If one
  • Distended cartilage-bone border of the ribs on the sternum (rachitic rosary)

Signs of osteomalacia in children

  • weakness and movement disorders
  • Unexplained pain, especially in the tendons
  • Rarely muscle cramps

Risk groups: Who is particularly at risk?

Some people are at higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. These risk groups include people with

  • low vitamin D production due to insufficient sun exposure of the skin
  • Age-related decrease in vitamin D production
  • dark skin type
  • insufficient dietary intake

During pregnancy, a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of so-called gestational diabetes in the mother and reduces bone density in the child. Overweight people should also make sure they have a good supply of vitamin D, since the fatty tissue stores the vitamin and does not release it again. Some diseases also put you at risk for vitamin D deficiency:

  • Chronic renal failure
  • Cancer
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis

Certain medications can also promote vitamin D deficiency. These include:

  • antiepileptics
  • glucocorticoids
  • HIV/AIDS medication
  • antifungal agents such as ketoconazole
  • cholestyramine

Since they do not eat animal-based foods, vegans can hardly cover their vitamin D requirements through food. Vegetable foods also contain vitamin D, but the proportions are very small.

How is vitamin D deficiency treated?

The best way to find out whether and how severe a deficiency is with a blood test. For this, the doctor takes a blood sample. The laboratory then examines how much of the so-called 25(OH)-vitamin D (calcidiol) can be found in the blood. A vitamin D deficiency can only be compensated for in the short term with supplements in tablet form. But vitamin D can also be ingested through certain foods. The doctor will decide which dosage is best. In the summer, it makes sense to stay out in the sun for 15 to 20 minutes.

About 25 percent of the body surface should be uncovered. A balanced diet with one or two servings of fatty fish per week is also advisable.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top