Most people know vitamin D as the sunshine vitamin, since regular sunlight
exposure is the best way to replenish the body's reserves.
Vitamin D has several important jobs aside from building strong bones.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is linked to the immune system—helping
to fight off infections. It also aids in muscle function, including heart
and circulation health. Vitamin D promotes healthy respiratory systems
including your lungs and airway and a deficiency has been linked to health
problems like asthma. Vitamin D is believed to help with brain development
and even is thought to have anti-cancer effects!
Other health problems associated with a deficiency of Vitamin D include
type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and
autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and type-I
Please note: These conditions are not caused by a lack of vitamin D, rather
a deficiency is commonly noted along with these health problems.
This important vitamin is tough to come by, especially in the northern
hemisphere because we need sun exposure to create it within our bodies.
Generally, vitamin D isn’t sourced well from foods. Seniors and
those with darker skin have a more difficult time processing vitamin D
and getting it into their system. Infants who are breastfeeding, pregnant
women and obese people are at risk for low vitamin D. Lifestyle can also
be a factor in a vitamin D deficiency. So, if you work indoors, do shift
work, or keep your skin covered by clothing or even sunscreen most the
time, you may not have enough sun exposure to promote a healthy level
of vitamin D.
According to the
Mayo Clinic, vitamin D screenings are appropriate for individuals who receive therapy
to treat or prevent osteoporosis, elderly people, patients who have high
or low levels of calcium in their blood, children or adults who are malnourished
and are suspected to have rickets or osteomalacia and also patients who
already are receiving vitamin D therapy. A physician may recommend a vitamin
D screening if you have any of the health conditions or lifestyles listed
above as well.
Symptoms of low vitamin D are often vague and can include tiredness and
general aches and pains. Often, patients do not experience any symptoms
at all. If you think you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it is recommended
to consult your doctor.
Treating low vitamin D can be very simple and can include nutrition and
supplementation (under the supervision of a doctor or registered dietitian),
use of vitamin D lamps and exposure to sunlight. Deficiencies range from
severe (less than 10 ng/ml) to mild (11-29 ng/ml) and are diagnosed through
a blood test. For more information on Vitamin D, go to
www.webmd.com and search for “vitamin d”.
Campbell County Health
Wellness offers Vitamin D
screenings, Monday-Friday from 6-11 am at 1901 Energy Court, Suite 125, located behind
Wendy’s and Common Cents. This screening is a simple blood test
and costs only $35. Your results can be faxed quickly to your physician
and are mailed directly to your home in just a few days as well. Walk-ins
are welcome or request an appointment online at
Campbell County Health
Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee
groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn
more about Wellness, please visit
www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.
This blog was written by Rachel Wilde, CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services Technician