Contributed by: Dr. Dhrity Vats
Vitamin D, popularly called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ plays a very important role in keeping you healthy. It helps to absorb calcium and is important for your bones and overall health and development. Not having enough of this essential vitamin can cause many health problems, which are worth considering. There are many health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency and knowing about them can help you plan a healthy future for yourself. To stay away from the related health complications, it is best to get yourself checked for Vitamin D deficiency as and when the symptoms like fatigue, general weakness and lethargy, disturbed sleep, repeated headaches and problems of indigestion show.
Possible Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is on the rise these days and is linked with an increased risk of many health problems. Some of the commonest health risks of include
Osteoporosis and Fracture – Lack of Vitamin D can affect the absorption of calcium, which can reduce the bone density and make the bones porous. As a result, the bones become fragile and more prone to fractures, thus increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency is also known to cause weak bones and rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Muscle Pain –It is linked with chronic pain and muscle aches. Many people with inadequate vitamin D levels are at an increased risk of chronic muscle pain, muscles weakness and fibromyalgia.
Heart Disease–Several studies have shown that decreased levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Brain Damage–Some studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can affect the thinking capacity, memory and overall performance of the brain. This can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in some people. Its deficiency can also cause changes in mood and may be linked with increased risk of depression and other emotional problems.
Inflammation – Vitamin D plays an important role in reducing inflammation in the body, hence its deficiency can increase the risk of inflammatory conditions. Inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, joint inflammation or arthritis and other inflammatory disorders can be caused by vitamin D deficiency.
Cancer–It has been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancers like prostate cancer, breast cancer and lymphomas. Some studies have also shown that people with vitamin D deficiency have reduced chances of surviving cancer as compared to those with adequate levels.
Fertility Issues–Vitamin D plays an important role in the production of male and female sex hormones. Studies show that lack of vitamin D can sometimes also lead to erectile dysfunction in men and affect fertility in some cases.
Anaemia – Some studies have also shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and increase the risk of anaemia or low haemoglobin count. Anaemia can cause fainting, weakness and affect health in many ways.
Reduced Immunity–It can affect the immune system and increase the risk of allergies and infections. It can also trigger allergic respiratory troubles like asthma and other infections that can severely affect the health.
Almost 70% of Indians have Vitamin D deficiency and most of the cases go undetected. According to a recent study, in India due to the difference in body composition and hormonal levels, Vitamin D deficiency is more common in females than males. It’s best to be aware and know all about Vitamin D Deficiency in Indian Women.
The health risks of vitamin D deficiency can be reduced by performing investigations like a simple blood test to determine vitamin D levels in your blood. Depending on the results, medical advice must be followed regarding appropriate diet, healthy lifestyle and vitamin D supplementation.
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