Monday, June 16, 2008

Low Vitamin D - Common in the Rheumatology office


Here's another interesting discovery regarding Vitamin D. Be sure to check out one of my previous posts regarding the benefits of Vitamin D, if you missed it the first time!

Undiagnosed Low Vitamin D Levels Extremely Common in Rheumatology Patients

PARIS (Reuters Health) Jun 12 - Nearly three-quarters of patients who present to a rheumatology clinic have a vitamin D deficiency, Irish researchers reported here at the European Union League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) 2008 meeting.
Dr. Muhammad Haroon and associates at South Infirmary-Victoria University Hospital, in Cork, assessed the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in all new patients consecutively seen at their institution's rheumatology clinic between January and June, 2007.

Of 264 patients who presented during this time period, 231 agreed to have their levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), 25-hydroxy vitamin D, creatinine, calcium, phosphate, albumin and alkaline phosphatase measured.

Hypovitaminosis D was defined as 21 ng/mL (53 nmol/L) or less, and severe deficiency was defined as 10 ng/mL (25 nmol/L) or less. A PTH range of 15-65 ng/L was considered normal.
Results showed that 162 patients (70%) had hypovitaminosis D, 26% had severe hypovitaminosis D, and 21% had secondary hyperparathyroidism.
Age did not have much effect on prevalence as 78% of patients 30 years of age or younger and 65% of patients 65 years of age or older were vitamin D-deficient.
Severe vitamin D deficiency was present in a significant percentage of patients in all diagnostic categories including patients with inflammatory joint diseases, soft tissue rheumatism, osteoarthritis, uncomplicated musculoskeletal backache, and osteoporosis.

"The findings may simply reflect the background prevalence of hypovitaminosis D or may represent the co-relation of low vitamin D levels with widespread musculoskeletal pains and/or different autoimmune diseases, one of the common presentations in rheumatology outpatients," Dr. Haroon said.

He emphasized that because patients enrolled in the study were patients presenting for an initial assessment, they are "a good representation of our general population."
Chronic severe vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis and osteomalacia, while a mild to moderate deficiency may contribute to non-specific musculoskeletal/soft-tissue complaints, he said.

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