Vitamin D

A simple blood test can help to identify a lack of certain vitamins, minerals and iron in the blood. Having a deficiency can have a significant impact on your health.

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, it helps to:

  • promote calcium absorption
  • maintain normal calcium and phosphate levels
  • promote bone and cell growth
  • reduce inflammation

We are able to get some of the recommended vitamin D from food, such as oily fish, eggs, fortified fat spreads, fortified  breakfast cereals and powdered milk, but most comes from sunlight. Between October and March, the sunlight in Britain is not strong enough to make enough vitamin D, and up to a quarter of the population has low levels of it in their blood.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D deficiency doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when it does some of the symptoms may include:

  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • bone pain
  • frequent bone fractures
  • muscle weakness
  • soft bones that may result in deformities
  • unexplained fatigue

Vitamin D deficiency can put people at risk of:

  • Rickets bone problems in children
  • Osteomalacia bone problems in adults

Some research suggests that not getting enough of it may also be linked to:

  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults.

Vitamin D deficiency at-risk groups:

The Chief Medical Officers of the UK say these groups are at particular risk of vitamin D deficiency:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women, especially teenagers and young women.
  • Infants and children under 5 years of age.
  • People 65 and over.
  • People who have little or no exposure to the sun. This includes covering-up for cultural reasons, people who are housebound or who stay indoors for long periods of time.
  • People with darker skin, such as African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin. These groups are not able to make as much vitamin D as those with paler skin.

Blood test for vitamin D deficiency:

The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is a blood test to measure 25-hydroxy vitamin D in your bloodstream. This is a form of vitamin D produced in the liver. In the kidney, 25-hydroxy vitamin D is converted into an active form of the vitamin for use by the body to help control calcium and phosphate levels.

We can refer you for a blood test at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital in Cheam where experienced and dedicated nurses will take a blood sample to be analysed in their modern laboratories. Your blood test result will be sent to your practitioner, usually within 24 to 48 hours.