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5 Signs & causes of Vitamin D Deficiency in Seniors

If you are feeling tired, achy, or irritable you could have a vitamin d deficiency. Find out what the main signs are, and the best ways to get vitamin d into your body.

Vitamin D is vital for maintaining healthy teeth and bones, and as we grow older it’s increasingly important to make sure you are getting enough of it. A deficiency can often be mistaken for other health conditions, so ensuring that you understand the benefits, and how to be aware of the symptoms of a deficiency is crucial, particularly in seniors.

Ways to get vitamin d into your body

vitamin D deficiency

Although you can obtain vitamin d from your diet, it’s mainly obtained through absorbing UVB rays through the skin. This can be why seniors find themselves deficient, as they often spend more time indoors and therefore have less exposure to the sun and UVB rays. If you think you are spending more time indoors then why not read our blog about activities you can do when you retire?

The best source of Vitamin D is the sun, when UVB rays hit your skin, a compound turns them into vitamin d– so a little sunlight helps your body gets enough of the vital nutrient, however, we know that too much exposure to the sun can be detrimental to your health, causing rapid ageing of the skin and potentially more series diseases like skin cancer which is dangerous for all ages, not only seniors.

You can also obtain vitamin d through food sources, although scientists have suggested that this would only make up around 10% of your vitamin d requirement. Foods that are rich in vitamin d are salmon, tuna, eggs, and cod liver oil, which can often leave those who don’t consume fish or dairy products deficient.

Alternatively, you can take supplements to increase your vitamin d levels, this is often advised alongside a healthy diet.

Seniors often find themselves with a deficiency in vitamin d, this may be due to them spending more time indoors, therefore having much less exposure to the sun. You don’t always need to venture far to get outside, why not attract some local birds into your garden that you can sit outside and enjoy? As you age, so does your skin, and its efficiency to absorb vitamins into the body – paired with a reduced appetite that is often common in seniors, the older the individual, the more prone to a deficiency in vitamin D they can be. This can cause several symptoms that are noted below.

The 5 main signs of a Vitamin D deficiency in seniors:

1. Fatigue & Joint Pain

There are many things that may cause seniors to feel tired all the time, but one of the main causes of this is often a nutritional deficiency. A lack of Vitamin D can often leave you feeling very lethargic and less inclined to get out of the house – therefore increasing the deficiency. Seniors can often feel joint pain, around the shoulders, hips and ribcage which can also be caused by a Vitamin D deficiency.

2. Digestive Issues

There are two main problems around digestion and vitamin D deficiency – there have been links between people who are deficient in vitamin D, and digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. This can cause huge discomfort and can often be very debilitating. On top of this, people who do suffer from diseases such as Crohn’s or colitis often don’t tend to absorb nutrients as efficiently as people without digestive issues, which only worsens the symptoms of this deficiency.

3. Repetitive illness

There is a strong link between vitamin D and your immune system. This often means that if you are deficient in vitamin D you can often fall ill much easier. Seniors often find their immune system is much weaker than it once was anyway, therefore if a senior is deficient in vitamin D it can lead to them catching illnesses easier, and when they do – being more unwell as their immune system isn’t strong enough to fit it off.

4. Muscle weakness

It has been proven that there is a correlation between low levels of vitamin d in the body and low muscle mass. When the ratio between muscle mass and body mass are unbalanced, it can cause the individual to feel weak and mobility can be more difficult. In extreme circumstances, this can cause the need for a wheelchair, however, with the help of vitamin D supplements, this can be reversed. This is often more prevalent in areas of the world that do not get huge amounts of sunlight, or for people who spend more time indoors and therefore get less exposure to the sun.

5. Change in mood

One of the main symptoms of vitamin d deficiency is irritability, mood swings and depressive disorders such as seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D has links to levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is an important chemical in the body that helps regulate the mood, energy levels, digestion, and energy levels in an individual. Therefore, if there is a lower level of vitamin d in seniors, and therefore serotonin, all of these can also be affected which can affect your mood.

At Platinum Skies, we are proud to provide a community where you can maintain a healthy lifestyle in your retirement. Each community has a wide range of activities to suit everyone; from gardening to yoga, or even if you just fancy getting together with your neighbours each week. Find your perfect Platinum Skies community or book an appointment to come and see for yourself.

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