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Deficiency of Vitamin D for Skin Cancer Patients

Vitamin D is important for the development and maintenance of strong muscles and healthy bones. It helps in regulating the levels of calcium in your blood which is necessary for bone structure.

Different sources of Vitamin D

The main source of Vitamin D is made in your skin with UVB rays of sun. Like other vitamins, a small amount also comes from the food you eat even if you take a healthy diet. UVB sunlight will be available in the UK between 11 am to 3 pm from April to September.

Causes of Vitamin D deficiency

Having lower levels of Vitamin D in your body occurs due to lack of adequate sunlight in the UK. Children and adults who have dark skin and cover up their body fully with clothing are more prone to the deficiency of Vitamin D.

  • Patients who were earlier diagnosed with skin cancer are at risk of developing the deficiency of Vitamin D because they are advised to avoid wearing sunscreen and going outside.
  • Low calcium diets can trigger the deficiency of Vitamin D
  • Adults who have limited mobility are at greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency

What happens when you do not have sufficient Vitamin D?

The deficiency of Vitamin D is very common and most people either do not have any symptoms or vague ones such as aches or tiredness. Extreme deficiency of Vitamin D may be the reason for soft bones called rickets in kids and osteomalacia in adults. Some symptoms are weak muscles, bone pain and bowing of leg bones in children. There can be muscle cramps and seizures very rarely in extreme deficiency of Vitamin D when calcium level is also very low.

Long term deficiency of Vitamin D increases the risk of developing weak bones or osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

How to diagnose the deficiency of Vitamin D

If there are any symptoms and risk factors of Vitamin D deficiency, conducting a Vitamin D blood test will help to check for the level of Vitamin D. The deficiency has been diagnosed when the level is low (below 50nmol/L in children and below 25nmol/L in adults).

What is the treatment for Vitamin D deficiency?

The treatment is to take supplements of vitamin D which are available in the form of capsules, liquid, tablets or injection.

The treatment is usually given by mouth once daily for 1 to 2 months. This will be followed by the lower dose taken every day to prevent the deficiency coming back. It may be taken at any time during the day without food. Your doctor who conducts private blood tests in London will suggest the dosage and the supplements can be purchased from the shop or the doctor may give you a prescription. Purchasing supplements is a convenient option than waiting for a doctor’s appointment and waiting at the chemist which is likely inexpensive than a prescription charge. The repeated blood test will sometimes be required after 6 months to one year for ensuring Vitamin D levels are normal.

Are there any side‐effects from Vitamin D treatment?

It is extremely unusual to get side‐effects from Vitamin D when taken in the prescribed dosage. When you take excessive Vitamin D, the symptoms occur due to increased calcium levels in your blood. Some of these are – nausea, increased thirst, vomiting, headache and passing a lot of urine. When these symptoms are noted, you need to visit the GP immediately so that the blood tests can be arranged accordingly.

How to lessen the risk of Vitamin D deficiency in future

After the treatment course by taking Vitamin D supplements, it is extremely important to maintain adequate level of Vitamin D in your blood with low dose of Vitamin D supplement advised.

Diet is a source of vitamin D found in oily fish such as – salmon, tuna and mackerel, eggs and fortified food like breakfast cereals. A diet rich in calcium is important for health which are sources of calcium such as cheese, milk and yogurt.

Should you sunbathe only?

Most types of skin cancers have been related to excessive sunlight exposure. If your doctor advises you to avoid sunlight due to the risk of developing further skin cancers, it is necessary to follow this advice. You need to change your diet or take supplements than avoid the deficiency of Vitamin D.

It is advisable to see a doctor in London and conduct Vitamin D test for knowing whether you have normal level.