Having a vitamin D deficiency can be a very frustrating experience because the symptoms vary widely and can often be attributed to other health problems. Fortunately, as more and more research into the role of vitamin D in health is undertaken, more physicians know what to look for and can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency with a simple blood test.
I was not aware of the important role vitamin D plays in health or the role that sunlight plays in your body producing the vitamin, so my diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency surprised me.I was diagnosed almost immediately after I had my first mole removed and examined for possible skin cancer. After having the mole removed and learning that it was benign, I started taking extra sun protective precautions. I wear long sleeved sun protective clothing almost every day, apply sunscreen daily and avoid being outdoors between 10am and 5pm.
My doctor ruled out hypothyroidism and diabetes immediately, then he referred me to a nutritionist. A follow up blood test showed that I had a vitamin D deficiency, which my primary physician attributed to my sun avoidance techniques.
My Signs and Symptoms
I had been complaining of general fatigue and joint pain for awhile before I went to the doctor. I also was having strange muscle spasms and twitches that I couldn’t explain. I also had been more depressed and anxious. Because these could be related to almost anything, including more serious conditions, it unfortunately took some time to suspect a vitamin D deficiency. I consider myself lucky that my doctor tested for vitamin D fairly early in the process.
The treatment my doctor prescribed is extremely basic. I make sure to get ten minutes of sunlight everyday on skin that does not have sunscreen covering, as sunscreen diminishes your skin’s ability to generate vitamin D. I also take a vitamin D supplement. Initially I was taking a small dose of 400 units, but a follow up blood test showed a smaller improvement than my doctor was hoping for. After a bump up to 1,000 units of vitamin D every morning, the blood test showed enough of an improvement to be in the “normal” range.
Please note that your individual experience with vitamin D deficiency will be unique and that my experiences described above should not substitute for professional medical advice. Be sure to answer all questions with your doctor truthfully to rule out any more serious conditions.