Low amounts of Vitamin D, or Vitamin D deficiency, is a common medical condition seen in patients in the primary care setting. Vitamin D is a vitamin created in our bodies by sun exposure. However, when a person has limited sun exposure or in some cases is obese, has dark skin, or kidney disease, vitamin D deficiency may result.
Vitamin D is important as it helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in our body and also promotes healthy cell differentiation which is considered a factor in protecting against cancer and diabetes. Moreover, vitamin D also assists in calcium absorption in bone thus building healthy bone formation and density.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include depression, fatigue, weight loss, and medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. In women, these symptoms may also be seen as mood changes, PMS, or seasonal affective disorder.
Here in the northwest where we experience less time in the sun, we see a particularly high incidence of vitamin D deficiency. Thus all men, women, and children are encouraged to see their primary care provider for evaluation and treatment of vitamin D deficiency.