Health & Well-being11th November 2015
How a Vitamin D deficiency really affects your life
Working indoors and with a diet light on Vitamin D, you might not realise the effect on your body
Before I start sharing my experience, I want to be clear that this is not medical advice and should not be seen as such. This is merely an article sharing my experience as a Deaf man, on discovering the impact of having a Vitamin D deficiency. The symptoms I will be describing should be useful to you in self diagnosing. However, not everyone will experience the same symptoms as I have had.
The reason I am writing this article is because I was raised with the values that one should share information so others can become aware. Information that can be shared, should be shared, hence this article to promote awareness of Vitamin D deficiency and hopefully prevent others from going through the same experiences as me.
Looking back, I can remember for a good number of months getting up from bed in the morning and realising that my feet were feeling quite sore. The symptoms were similar to sitting in the same position for a while and then, when you move, you get an ache. At the time I didn’t think anything more of it.
I noticed that I was becoming more tired and my energy levels were low. My mood began to change, my patience was wearing thin and I was becoming withdrawn. My body was feeling rather odd and uncomfortable. I put it down to the change in the weather. Gradually, this became worse and I went to see my GP. I was told that my Vitamin D level was at 35, whereas normal levels would be between 50 and 60. I now need to take Vitamin D medication for 6 months to get me levels back to where they should be.
Looking back, I realise why I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I work from home a lot and often don’t see the sun for a couple of days, on a regular basis. I am not a sun worshipper and I do not eat fish. Combine this together and I have placed myself in a high-risk group.
I realised during the process that the UK is not that familiar with the Vitamin D deficiency, despite lots of people in the UK either being at risk or suffering from it.
Many of us have got into the habit of covering ourselves in sun-block, using moisturisers with SPF and even some make up contains sun block. However, if you are already at risk due to low exposure to sunlight, you increase that risk if you use the above too much over a long period of time.
In America, they are committed to educating people about vitamin D and they have added it into their food, such as diary products and cereals. Their doctors are trained to identify the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency to ensure that patients are treated at the earliest opportunity. In the UK, people tend to self diagnose and make requests for blood tests. I am hoping that the medical profession in the UK will improve their awareness of Vitamin D issues.
If, like me, you do not eat fish, it is vital that you get at least 15 minutes of sun per day (mid day if possible). Three times a week is enough to boost your vitamin D level. There are some foods that contain vitamin D such as salmon, eggs, mushrooms (those that grow in the sun) tofu, fortified butter and cereals. (This is not a comprehensive list). However, this cannot replace the sun. You need both to maintain a good balance.
At the time of writing, I still have pains and aches associated with this deficiency. However, my mood is improving and I engage with people more. I have previously neglected my friends and family simply due to low energy levels, being tired and a lack of motivation. It is quite scary how something like low Vitamin D can have such an impact on your body and your life!
Remember, a bit of sun is actually good for you! Of course, too much can cause other complications and too much exposure ironically reduces the amount of vitamin D your body is able to absorb!
If you have any concerns about your vitamin D levels, go and see your GP.
Article by SLFirst Team
posted in Deaf Lifestyle / Health & Well-being
11th November 2015