Vitamin D deficiency can be a serious problem for seniors
Vitamin D is produced in the body in response to sunlight. How much vitamin D is produced by your body depends on several factors: the time of day you are in sunlight, where you are located in the world, the color of your skin, and the amount of skin you expose to the sunlight. Your age also affects how much vitamin D your body makes. As you age, your skin has a more difficult time making vitamin D. Fortunately, you can also get vitamin D by taking supplements. This is recommended if you can’t get enough exposure to the sun, or if you are concerned about the risks of sun exposure.
Adequate vitamin D is important to the healthy functioning of our bodies. It helps the body absorb calcium, and this is vital to health of your bones. In addition, vitamin D also supports our muscle function, regulates cell growth, helps fight infection, keeps our heart and circulatory system healthy, and enables cells throughout the body to communicate.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem for seniors. They are less likely to get enough vitamin D because they often don’t get an adequate amount in their diet, they have less exposure to the sun, they have thinner skin tissue, and they often have decreased intestinal absorption. The risks of having a vitamin D deficit include:
- falls and fractures
- osteoporosis and other bone disorders
- physical mobility and independence problems
- cardiovascular problems, diabetes, some cancers
- chances of early nursing home admission
There is still much to be learned about how vitamin D works in our bodies. In the meantime, have your vitamin D level tested and ask your doctor how much she recommends to keep your body functioning well.
To learn more about our skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, see Dyer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center