Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency information
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and teeth as it helps in the absorption of calcium in the diet from the intestinal tract.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets. This is a rare disease that softens and weakens the bones. It can lead to deformities such as bowed legs and curvature of the spine.
What causes vitamin D deficiency?
For various reasons, Vitamin D deficiency is very common in South Asian Population, including in Pakistan. Vitamin D deficiency can happen if a person does not get enough vitamin D in their diet. Most people get some vitamin D from eating a healthy and balanced diet. A person does not need to have vitamin D everyday because it is a fat-soluble vitamin which the body will store.
Skin can also make vitamin D when exposed to the sun and the combination of diet and sunlight meets the requirements for this vitamin.
What are the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
If a child is lacking in vitamin D they may notice aches in their legs.
A long-term deficiency can lead to softening of the bones, causing backache, muscle weakness, bone pain and even fractures.
How is vitamin D deficiency normally diagnosed?
A child suspected of having a vitamin D deficiency, should consult a doctor.
Taking high doses of vitamin D for long periods of time can be harmful, so it is important that you speak to a medical professional before giving a child any supplements.
How is vitamin D deficiency normally treated?
The small amounts of vitamin D a person needs each day are usually provided by a balanced diet and normal exposure to sunlight.
Good sources of vitamin D include oily fish (like sardines, salmon, herring and tuna), liver, milk and dairy products and egg yolks. Vitamin D is also made by the sun’s rays when they act on chemicals naturally present in the skin.
However, some times it is necessary to take Vitamin D supplement medicines in order to treat Vitamin D deficiency. Your child’s doctor will be able to advise you about the recommended formulation an dose needed.
What happens next?
Taking high doses for long periods of time can cause side effects such as bone weakness, chronic thirst and depression
Vitamin D can build up in the body and overdoses are dangerous.
If a child is taking vitamin D supplements and they display unusual symptoms, speak to a doctor.
*Information courtesy Dr. Sheikh Farrukh