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Know Your Numbers: Vitamin D

  • Category: Wellness
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Rachel Wilde, CPT, MA

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 diabetes. 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.vitamindcouncil.org or 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 www.cchwyo.org/screen.

Have Questions?

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 and Phlebotomist