Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients that the body needs to perform various functions. The deficiency of this hormone is linked to a higher risk of disorders affecting your bones, skin, hair, gut, and even the brain and heart.
Being aware of the early signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is essential to be able to prevent the development of these diseases.
Here is a brief discussion about how to spot vitamin D deficiency based on the common signs and symptoms it produces.
What are the common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D plays a critical role in protecting you against infections. It can activate the immune system in the presence of infectious pathogens and enable your body to fight the invaders.
Vitamin D can also interact with the immune cells that are responsible for attacking and destroying viruses and bacteria.
A deficiency of vitamin D can deprive your immune system of these benefits due to which it may fail to clear the infections. It can make your immune system weak and inefficient as would be evident in the forms of recurrent infections usually affecting the respiratory system and skin.
Vitamin D deficiency may cause immense weakness and tiredness by affecting the processes involved in the production of energy.
You may experience daytime fatigue and frequent headaches or develop an aversion to any kind of mental or physical activity.
This may reduce your productivity thereby affecting the quality of your life.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium in the intestine. Lack of vitamin D can reduce the availability of calcium to your bones making them weaker and porous. As a result, you may develop pain in the back, neck, knees, wrists, and hip joints.
Poor mental health
The effect of vitamin D deficiency is not limited to your physical health. It may also affect your mental and emotional health and increase your risk of depression and anxiety.
It can also lead to frequent mood swings, anger, frustration, irritability, desire to stay alone, and even suicidal thoughts. Patients who suffer from these symptoms are advised to check their vitamin D levels to detect the deficiency of this nutrient as the possible cause of depression.
If you have noticed that small injuries or wounds on your skin take a longer time to heal, it could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
Findings of research studies suggest that vitamin D can increase the production of healing compounds and promote the regeneration of new skin cells. This would accelerate the wound-healing processes to a great extent.
The lack of adequate levels of vitamin D could slow down the regeneration of new cells thus taking the wounds a longer time to heal.
Now, that we have had a look at the signs that will help you spot vitamin D deficiency, let us answer the common concerns related to the same.
What are the diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency?
The deficiency of vitamin D can increase the risk of some disorders including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hair loss
- Recurrent cold and cough
- Prostate and breast cancer
- Myocardial infarction
How does vitamin D affect the brain?
The deficiency of vitamin D may accelerate degeneration and atrophy of the brain cells due to which the risk of schizophrenia and dementia can increase.
Patients with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop schizophrenia and dementia at a younger age compared to those with healthy levels of this nutrient.
Can vitamin D deficiency affect the body’s metabolism?
Yes, vitamin D deficiency may affect the metabolism of carbohydrates. It may also reduce the secretion of insulin in the pancreas.
As a result, patients may develop high blood sugar levels. This is why; vitamin D deficiency is linked to metabolic dysfunctions such as diabetes.
How is vitamin D linked to the development of cancer?
The deficiency of vitamin D can affect the physiological processes aimed at inhibiting the development of cancer.
As a result, the immune system fails to protect the organs against damage by free radicals, toxins, and other cancer-causing agents. This can make a person prone to develop cancer.
Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
What is the effect of vitamin D deficiency on your heart?
Numerous studies have shown that the low vitamin D levels can affect the functions of the heart. The reduced vitamin D level is also considered a potential factor responsible for heart diseases like myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.
Can vitamin D deficiency cause hair loss?
A low vitamin D level could be one of the factors responsible for hair loss in women.
In men, vitamin D deficiency may trigger the development of autoantibodies against the tissues of the scalp and hair causing hair loss.
It is possible to avoid the symptoms and diseases caused due to vitamin D deficiency by using supplements.
Being aware of the symptoms that help to spot vitamin D deficiency could be a great way to initiate appropriate measures to restore optimum levels of this nutrient and stay healthy and active for years after years.
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