Vitamin D deficiency symptoms: Difficulty getting up the stairs could be a sign

Lorraine: Dr Amir says spine could shrink if deficient in vitamin D

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Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are often “nonspecific or vague,” meaning it can get missed. It is not until some of the more common symptoms that it usually gets diagnosed. These include bone pain, as well as rickets among children.

According to Patient Info, “difficulty” in climbing stairs can signal a deficiency.

It explains: “In more severe deficiency (known as osteomalacia), there may be more severe pain and also weakness.

“Muscle weakness may cause difficulty in climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or can lead to the person walking with a waddling pattern.”

Other signs of vitamin D deficiency in adults include “general tiredness, vague aches and pains and a general sense of not being well”.

It can also lead to issues with bones.

“Bones can feel painful to moderate pressure (often more noticeable in the ribs or shin bones),” Patient Info says.

“Not uncommonly, people have a hairline fracture in the bone which is causing tenderness and pain.

“Bone pain often also occurs in the lower back, hips, pelvis, thighs and feet.”

Among children, vitamin D deficiency can be easier to spot.

Patient info adds: “Children with severe deficiency may have soft skull or leg bones. Their legs may look curved (bow-legged).

“They may also complain of bone pains, often in the legs, and muscle pains or muscle weakness. This condition is known as rickets.

“Poor growth – height is usually affected more than weight.

“Affected children might be reluctant to start walking.

“Tooth delay – children with vitamin D deficiency may be late teething, as the development of the milk teeth has been affected.”

Vitamin D is not just vital for bone health, it also:

  • improve muscle strength
  • keep your immune system strong, helping to fight off infections
  • protect you against certain cancers
  • reduce your risk of falls
  • help to stave off depression and low mood
  • keep your energy levels up

The best way to ensure you get enough vitamin D is by getting between 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight on the face and forearms around the middle of the day, two to three times a week.

But “the sunlight has to fall directly on to bare skin (through a window is not enough)”.

Foods that can increase your vitamin D intake include oily fish, egg yolk, red meat, liver and cod liver oil.

Or supplements can be taken if you still feel like you aren’t getting enough.

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