Vitamin D deficiency is something that can impact children and adults, but it can be especially dangerous for older adults. Chronic vitamin D deficiency can cause real negative health consequences over time.
Vitamin D deficiency can be easily remedied in most cases. The difficult part is determining when a deficiency is occurring, as the condition can be hard to spot.
Here are five symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in elderly adults.
It is not uncommon for elderly adults to lose some strength over time. It is a natural part of the aging process. However, any loss in muscle should be gradual and should allow for enough time for seniors to make adjustments.
When seniors are experiencing muscle weakness, that could be a sign of an underlying medical issue, and vitamin D deficiencies are commonly linked to muscle weakness. Muscle weakness can manifest in many different ways and can lead to feelings of fatigue, trouble getting around, or difficulty performing everyday tasks.
Improving daily vitamin D intake will help ensure that seniors have the nutrients they need to maintain strong and flexible muscles.
Seniors often experience the need for more sleep as they age, but that does not mean that they should be experiencing fatigue during waking hours. Seniors who are healthy should feel awake and energized during the daytime.
Unexplained fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in elderly adults. Lack of proper nutrients can very quickly lead to feelings of fatigue and even exhaustion in the elderly.
Digestive issues are another one of the most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in elderly adults. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D may lead to the development of digestive issues, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Digestive issues are not only unpleasant, but they can interfere with the way the intestines absorb fat and other nutrients, leading to further deficiencies and health problems. Digestive issues can lead to hospitalizations and significant lifestyle changes, and they can often take a long time to recover from.
While some digestive issues can be addressed through changes in diet, lifestyle, and medication, that’s not always the case. Sometimes problems with digestion can cause permanent damage or be irreversible.
Digestive issues can be attributed to a number of underlying conditions or factors, so it is important to talk to a health care professional for a proper diagnosis.
Vitamin D plays an important part in maintaining healthy body weight. It is believed to help control appetite, and low levels of vitamin D are associated with obesity. When a senior is not getting enough vitamin D, signals to the brain to stop eating can get disrupted, causing frequent overeating.
Weight gain in seniors can cause a number of health problems, including an increased risk of developing:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Some cancers
If you notice that your elderly loved one has suddenly gained weight, make sure to check that they are getting adequate levels of vitamin D.
Changes in Cognitive Function and Mood
Changes in cognitive function and mood is often one of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in elderly adults. Vitamin D is different than other vitamins because it converts into an active hormone called calcitriol.
Vitamin D is believed to help regulate immune function as well as the release of dopamine and serotonin into the brain. Dopamine and serotonin levels have a huge impact on psychological health. If levels are disrupted, seniors can experience extreme changes in mood and cognitive function.
In addition, studies have shown that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with other mental disorders like depression and seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D deficiencies can also increase a senior’s risk of developing cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
Getting enough vitamin D is just one of many ways a senior can work to keep their brain healthy throughout retirement.
Vitamin D deficiencies are not uncommon in the elderly. Vitamin D is an easy nutrient to overlook, but levels that are too high or too low can cause real health problems for seniors. Being aware of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in elderly adults is one of the best ways to get ahead of the problem and take steps to address it.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.