Long winters lead to vitamin D deficiency

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Vitamin D deficiency: Joints and bones endangered by long winter

The long winter increasingly causes bone problems due to vitamin D deficiency. The professional association of German nuclear medicine e. V. (BDN) in a current press release against the negative effects of the extremely sunless, long winter. "Currently, a remarkably large number of patients with unclear bone or muscle pain come to our practices," explained Dr. med. Detlef Moka, Chairman of the Professional Association of German Nuclear Physicians.

Vitamin D deficiency has long been known as a possible trigger for bone problems, but small children and adolescents are generally at greater risk. In contrast, the symptoms are usually less common in adults. But since vitamin D can only be adequately formed by the body when the sun is shining and the current winter is one of the sunniest in the sun since measurements began, according to the BDN, many adults are currently struggling with a vitamin D deficiency. Older people in particular, “who don't get enough sunlight during the summer months refuel to prevent vitamin D supplements from October to March.

Vitamin D cannot be adequately absorbed through food Vitamin D is formed in the body when human skin comes into contact with UVB radiation. A certain proportion can also be ingested through food, but "at most 20 percent of our daily vitamin D requirements can be met through food," emphasized Dr. Moka. BDN lists chanterelles, mushrooms and above all "fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring" as foods with a high vitamin D content. Without a sufficient dose of UVB radiation, however, the organism cannot survive. "We therefore first draw the attention of patients with vitamin D deficits to the possibility of taking healthy sunbaths," explained the chairman of the BDN. Here it is enough to expose the face and arms or legs to the direct sun two to three times a week for five to 30 minutes in the months of March to September. Anyone who adheres to this "has no fear of damage and builds up sufficient vitamin D, even for a winter with little sun," says Dr. As an alternative, short visits to modern solariums are also suitable.

Bone pain due to a vitamin D deficiency Nuclear physicians are increasingly coming into contact with vitamin D deficiency patients because "family doctors often send patients suffering from unclear bone pain to a nuclear medicine doctor", reports the BDN. Here, for example, a skeletal scintigraphy should be used to examine whether it is a pathological bone change. If the nuclear medicine specialists are "unable to determine any bone changes that can be detected by scintigraphy," a blood sample is taken and analyzed in the laboratory, according to the information from the professional association of German nuclear medicine specialists.

More than a third of the patients show vitamin D deficiency "The blood test means that we often come across a pronounced vitamin D deficiency," explained Dr. According to the experts, the patients relatively often do not suffer from rheumatism or inflammatory joint diseases, as initially suspected, but from a severe vitamin D deficiency. A study in the nuclear medicine practice of the BDN chairman in Essen with 2,500 patients showed that “35 percent of all German-born patients suffer from a vitamin D deficiency.” According to the expert, patients with a migration background are affected even more often. Here, the "share is even 65 percent - presumably because they avoid sunlight through covering clothes more."

Symptoms of a long, low-sun winter According to the BDN, there is a vitamin D deficiency, "if less than 25 nanomoles per liter (nmol / l) of vitamin D is measured in the blood." Falling below this critical value sometimes leads to the whole Body to deficiency symptoms. Sleep disorders, chronic fatigue, depression, muscle weakness, cramps, knee pain, back pain, skin irritation (e.g. itchy itchy rash) and an increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial infection are mentioned here by the BDN as possible complaints. According to the BDN, those affected also tend to fracture bones, overactive parathyroid glands and increasingly develop osteoporosis and the painful bone softening of the osteomalacia.

Treatment of vitamin D deficiency If the need for vitamin D cannot be remedied by natural sunlight or a visit to the solarium, according to the BDN, vitamin D can be administered in the form of tablets, capsules or oily drops. In severe deficiency conditions, the vitamin D store may be replenished using a high-dose injection. Once the problem has been identified, the treatment usually does not cause any major complaints. However, the vitamin D deficit must first be registered. "If unclear bone pain occurs after a long and sunless winter, those affected and treating doctors should always think of a vitamin D deficiency and have this clarified," said the BDN chairman. (fp)

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Image: Maria Lanznaster / pixelio.de

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Video: 8 Signs Your Body Is Begging for Vitamin D


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