Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble secosteroid hormone that assists in the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphate throughout the body. Many of the aforementioned nutrients are vital for the overall health and survival of mammals, including us, humans. Vitamin D is important for not only the feet and legs, but for the entire body because it distributes and promotes the beneficial effects of the nutrients to parts of the body that need these supplements to maintain good health and to promote it.
Vitamin D is created under the skin as a result of exposure to natural (and in some cases artificial) light. While common language refers to it as “vitamin D” it’s technically a hormone that is created naturally within the human body. After the skin’s exposure to the sun, vitamin D is carried to the liver from which it is distributed to various parts of the body through the blood stream, kidneys, dermal skin layer, bones and other major glands.
Vitamin D helps to:
- Strengthen bones and teeth by supplying them with vital minerals
- Reduce bone fractures
- Keep the immune system functioning to fight diseases caused by bacteria and/or viruses
- Indirectly maintain skin health as a result of the changes in chemical compounds under the skin layer
- Support perceived emotional and mental well-being
- Decreases the occurrence of multiple types of cancers
Vitamin D deficiency has become a serious medical issue among people of all ages. A lack of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D in the blood as a result of diet and avoiding sunlight can result in the softening of bones, the demineralization of bones, and other conditions such as changes in skin pigmentation.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with conditions including:
- Multiple types of arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Multiple types of cancer
- Infectious disease
- Muscle weakness/ muscle contracture
- Blood pressure hypertension
- Nutrient malabsorption
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
There are many different symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency. Some of the indications that the body may give off when lacking vitamin D include:
- Achy bones and joints
- Changes in skin color; skin becomes darker
- Depression and sadness
- Excessive sweating
- Inability to focus
- Irritable bowels
- Age and the effects of aging
How can I find out if I have vitamin D deficiency?
If you think that you have low levels of vitamin D, you doctor at Healthmark Foot and Ankle can test you for physical symptoms and can administer a blood test that checks for 25(OH)D levels and other relevant measurements. The appropriate diagnostic tests and lab work will be ordered and reviewed to understand your bones’ and body’s vitamin D conditions.
Importance of Vitamin D for fracture care and reconstruction
The patient must have proper levels of vitamin D to allow fractures to heal. Healthy amounts of vitamin D are a critical factor in the healing of reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. To have fractures heal from surgical reconstruction the patient’s vitamin D levels must be understood so that bones are not too brittle and porous.
Solutions to vitamin D deficiency
Consultation with a physician is the best first step in identifying, understanding, and treating vitamin D deficiency. Since each case can be different, there is a multitude of potential solutions for treating the various results of associated with low levels of vitamin D. Some solutions include, but are not limited to:
- Exposure to natural sunlight
- Vitamin D supplements
- Change in diet
- Become more active
The effects of vitamin D deficiency can be indicated through multiple clues found within the body. The medical staff at Healthmark Foot and Ankle know how to identify if a patient is being affected by a lack of vitamin D. If you think that you have been experiencing these symptoms alone or in relation to a foot, ankle, or leg issue contact the doctors at Healthmark Foot and Ankle today!