Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are usually minor in the beginning. In most people, vitamin D deficiency shows no symptoms in the beginning, and that is why it is often left untreated. People are not even aware that they are deficient in vitamin D. They usually find out about the deficiency when they start experiencing serious problems.
Vitamin D is very important, when it comes to bones, growth and health in general. It is produced in the skin during the sun exposure. Although vitamin D is found in certain foods, these amounts are not satisfactory and you cannot get your daily dose of vitamin D just through these foods. However, foods that contain vitamin D will certainly be helpful. They include animal meat, dairy products, eggs, fish and fortified cereals.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
● In people who have low vitamin D levels, but still do not have serious deficiency, there can be no symptoms at all. Even if the symptoms occur, they will be mild and include pains and aches.
● A severe lack of this vitamin can lead to symptoms that are more serious. These include osteomalacia and rickets. Rickets is seen in children, whereas osetomalacia is a similar condition that affects adults.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms in Children
● Low vitamin D levels in babies manifest through muscle cramps, breathing difficulties and seizures. Levels of calcium are also low in such cases. Breathing difficulties result from soft ribcage and weak muscles.
● Children who are severely deficient in vitamin D can have soft leg bones and soft skull. When the legs become curved, this condition is called “rickets”.
● Tooth delay is one of the common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in children.
● Low levels of vitamin D can lead to irritability.
● Poor development and growth can be caused by vitamin D deficiency. Children who lack vitamin D usually start walking very late.
● Children who have low levels of vitamin D are vulnerable to infections, especially when it comes to respiratory system.
● Cardiomyopathy is a serious problem that can occur because of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults
The most common symptoms in adults include:
● Pains and aches
● Severe pain (if the deficiency is severe)
● Bone pains (in the hips, ribs, feet and pelvis)
Vitamin D deficiency is treated with supplements of vitamin D. These supplements can also be used for prevention. People who are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D are advised to use supplements every day.
Who Is at Risk?
● Breast-feeding mothers and pregnant women are at risk of getting deficient in vitamin D.
● Babies who only feed on breast milk. Vitamin D can be found in human milk, but these amounts are not satisfactory. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you will have to take supplements of vitamin D, and you will also have to use formula milk for your baby, besides your breast milk. Talk to your doctor about other supplements that can be included in your baby’s diet.
● People whose sun exposure is limited are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin D. If you live in a country with cold climate conditions, you may lack this vitamin. People who are housebound (for any reason) can also have low vitamin D levels because their sun exposure is limited.
● If you have dark skin, your may be at risk of getting vitamin D deficiency. Melanin acts as sun block, so if your skin is darker, you will need to spend more time in the sun, compared to people who have white skin.
● Using the sunscreen all the time can make your vitamin D levels low, because these products prevent the sunrays from reaching your skin. Of course, when the sun is strong, you need to use some protection for your skin. If you have a child, make sure not to let him play outside, if the sun is too strong. Avoid the midday sun during the summer, because it can cause skin burns.
● Individuals who suffer from Crohn’s disease, kidney disease and celiac disease can be at risk of getting deficient in vitamin D. In such cases, the body cannot handle vitamin D properly.
● People who use barbiturates, carbamazepine, primidone, and similar medications, can be at risk.
● Vegetarians are also at risk, because they do not eat foods that contain vitamin D. This vitamin is contained in foods like meat, eggs, dairy products and fish. As you can see, these are all animal-derived items. If you are a vegetarian, you must talk to your nutritionist about other ways to get vitamin D. You will certainly have to spend time in the sun, and you will probably be given some vitamin D supplements.