Vitamin D deficiency can result in many kinds of health problems. It can make bones brittle, increase the risk of fractures. It can also impact the body’s ability to produce insulin, essential for energy production. Most younger adults get plenty of vitamin D through their diets and exposure to sunlight. However, people over the age of 65 are at risk for being vitamin D deficient because of changes in their diet.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Knowing if your older adult relative is deficient in vitamin D can be a matter of recognizing the symptoms.
Some of the things you may notice are:
Frequent Illness: Vitamin D helps to keep the immune system working properly so that it can fight off illnesses. If the senior isn’t getting enough vitamin D, they make catch colds and other respiratory infections more often.
Fatigue: Studies show that people who have low levels of vitamin D in their blood often suffer from daytime fatigue.
Pain: Because vitamin D is important to bone health, not getting enough of it can cause pain in the lower back and in the bones.
Depression: People with low vitamin D may be more likely to develop depression.
Poor Healing: Because of its role in the immune system, a lack of vitamin D can result in wounds healing more slowly than normal.
Hair Loss: A lack of vitamin D can cause women to lose their hair.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Your aging relative may not get enough vitamin D in their diet for several reasons, such as:
Not Enough in Diet: Some seniors don’t eat enough of the foods that give them vitamin D to have appropriate levels in their bodies.
Vegan Diet: If the older adult follows a vegan diet, they may not get enough of the vitamin because it is typically found in animal-based foods like egg yolks, fortified milk, and fish oils.
Not Enough Sun: Sunlight helps the body manufacture vitamin D, so if the senior rarely spends time outside, they could be low.
Dark Skin: People with dark skin don’t produce as much vitamin D because of the melanin in their skin.
Obesity: Fat cells take vitamin D out of the blood.
Home care services can help older adults to increase their vitamin D levels. If the doctor advises the senior to use a vitamin D supplement, a home care services provider can remind them to take it. Home care services providers can also prepare meals that use more foods that contain vitamin D, such as eggs and fatty fish. In addition, a home care services provider can help the senior to get outside for a little while each day, so they can soak up the sun’s rays.