How to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency in Seniors

During the colder months, all people, particularly seniors are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. During this time of year, in the winter so many people don’t realize how little they get in the sun and low little vitamin D they are getting. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is a real problem for all people, particularly seniors. While many people don’t automatically think of vitamin D deficiencies as being an issue, they can actually come with a number of side effects. The more you know about vitamin D deficiency and how they may impact your health—the better.

How Does Vitamin D Impact Healthy Aging?

If you are wondering why vitamin D is so important, one of the main reasons is that it plays a role in healthy aging. When the body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, it can be a risk for a number of health issues, including the following:

  • Cardiac disease
  • Insomnia
  • Cognitive issues including memory loss and confusion
  • Muscle pain and fatigue
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Frequent bone fractures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain cancers including breast, thyroid and lung cancer

While a vitamin D deficiency isn’t necessarily going to cause these issues, it can increase the risk of seniors developing these conditions.

How Do You Know That Someone Has a Vitamin D Deficiency?

If you are looking after a senior, you should always be on the lookout for some of the signs of a vitamin D deficiency. While the symptoms can be vague, here are some of the signs that someone may be struggling with a lack of vitamin D in their system.

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sweating from the head, while feeling cold everywhere else
  • Signs of depression
  • Joint pain or joint stiffness
  • Consistent lack of energy that doesn’t change after sleeping

If you are noticing these signs, it may be time to take your loved one to a doctor. Especially during this time of year or when you know your loved one has not been outdoors in a long time.

Treating a Vitamin D Deficiency

Before you can start helping seniors treat their vitamin D deficiency, it is important that they get an accurate diagnosis first. A blood test can indicate if there is a vitamin D deficiency. From there, the doctor may suggest a vitamin D prescription or an over-the-counter supplement.

There are also a few things that seniors can do on their own to help bring more vitamin D into their bodies, including:

  • Beef liver
  • Salmon, mackerel or other wild-caught fish
  • Canned tuna
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Almond milk
  • Shitake mushrooms

It is important to remember that vitamin D doesn’t occur naturally in many foods, but the aforementioned foods are a great start. It is also a great way to prevent vitamin D deficiencies from happening in the first place—especially during this time of year, when seniors aren’t getting enough vitamin D from the sun.

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