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With many other health risks, its easy to forget about an issue until it is too late. Many are unaware of the importance of vitamin D and therefore don’t think about needing it until awkward and unusual pains become an everyday reality. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to severe health complications if left untreated, including a worrying condition known as osteomalacia. What is it?
Sunlight produces vitamin D into the skin.
Dietary vitamin D is usually from foods to which the vitamin has been added, such as cow’s milk.
People who live in areas where sunlight is limited, get little exposure to sunlight or eat a diet low in vitamin D can develop osteomalacia.
Vitamin D deficiency is the most common cause of osteomalacia worldwide.
What is osteomalacia?
Osteomalacia refers to a marked softening of your bones, most often caused by severe vitamin D deficiency, said the Mayo Clinic.
The health site continued: “When osteomalacia is in its early stages, you might not have symptoms, although signs of osteomalacia might show on an X-ray or other diagnostic tests.
“As osteomalacia progresses, you might develop bone pain and muscle weakness.
“The dull, aching pain associated with osteomalacia most commonly affects the lower back, pelvis, hips, legs and ribs.
“The pain might be worse at night or when you put pressure on the bones. The pain is rarely relieved completely by rest.”
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, osteomalacia and vitamin D deficiency in the elderly was investigated.
The study noted: “Osteomalacia is one of the most common osteometabolic diseases among the elderly and may be associated with osteoporosis.
“It is typically caused by lack of vitamin D and is characterized by mineralization deficiency of the osteoid matrix in the cortical and trabecular bone, resulting in accumulation of osteoid tissue.
“We report the case of a 62-year-old woman who had experienced body pains and weakness for two years.
“She had suffered from multiple fractures of the ribs and the left clavicle without trauma for two months before she was admitted to the hospital.
“Serum 25-OH-vitamin D levels were determined to be 11 ng/ml.
“The patient was prescribed calcitriol at 0.75 mg/day and 2 g of calcium carbonate to normalize PTH and alkaline phosphatase levels. Body pains and weakness were eventually reduced.
“Over a follow-up period of three years, the patient did not have any new fractures.
“Her bone mineral density improved by 38 percent in the lumbar spine and 67.3 percent in the femur.
“At present, the patient is using cholecalciferol at 1000UI a day with good results.”
Vitamin D can boost both the immune system and improve muscle strength.
It’s important to ensure you take the correct dosage which can be evaluated by having a blood test.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine increased the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D from 400 international units (IU) to 600 IU for most healthy adults and 800 IU for those age 71 and older.
Based on that recommendation, some people, particularly those in groups at high risk for vitamin D deficiency, may need to take a supplement.
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