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Vitamin D is important for strong bones and for protecting against many health problems. The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are vague and can be easily mistaken for other health conditions, especially for seniors.
Sources of Vitamin D
- Sunlight – Vitamin D can be produced in the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- Some foods contain vitamin D naturally such as fatty fish, cod liver oil, eggs, and liver.
- Vitamin D fortified foods – Many foods have vitamin D added to them such as dairy products, cereals, and juice.
- Vitamin D supplements.
Reasons Why Seniors are at Risk
Older adults have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. The skin thins with age, and its ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight becomes less effective. Also, elderly people spend most of their time indoors and their exposure to sunlight is limited. Additionally, as people age, their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, which increase their risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Common Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. However, the symptoms vary from person to person. The following are symptoms that seniors with vitamin D deficiency may experience:
Bone and joint pain
Bone pain is one of the common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption to keep bones strong and prevent bone loss.
Fatigue and Muscle weakness
Insufficient amount of vitamin D can cause fatigue and muscle weakness. Feeling tired all the time could be an indicator of lack of vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is significant to bone health, and the combination of weakened muscles and bones caused by low vitamin D levels can increase the risk of falls and fractures for the elderly.
Depression and low mood
A depressed mood can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in older adults. Researchers have found a connection between vitamin D deficiency and depression, People who have low vitamin D levels and suffering from depression may benefit from taking a vitamin D supplements.
One of the most important roles vitamin D is keeping immune system strong. maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels helps the body fight of upper respiratory infections. Not getting enough vitamin D may be a contributing factor for getting sick frequently, especially with the cold or flu.
Poor wound healing
Slow healing of wounds may be a sign of low level of vitamin D. Some studies have found that vitamin D increase the production of compounds that are important to form new tissue.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common, if you think your loved one may have a deficiency, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider and get vitamin D levels tested. Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency is usually easy to fix.