Vitamin D Deficiency Among Women in Nursing Homes

Vitamin D Deficiency Among Women in Nursing Homes

Researchers say that patients who are staying in a nursing home need better services and treatments.

The Problem of Low Vitamin D Levels

Many women in nursing homes are deficient in vitamin D and this increases their risk of poor bone health and even death.

Dr. Stefan Pilz from Austria’s Medical University of Graz said that their research study highlights the importance of preventing and treating deficiency of vitamin D in older women.

Research Data

In the study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, there were about 1,000 women with an average age of 84 years old staying in a nursing home in Austria. In 27 months time, 30 percent or 284 women died. Further query about the nursing home residents’ health condition revealed that 93 percent of them had vitamin D levels that are lower than the recommended amount for their age.

Dr. Pilz said that a high percentage of the nursing home residents are severely deficient in vitamin D. The ones that have the lowest levels of vitamin D were highly at risk of death.

If immediate action is taken to prevent vitamin D deficiency and treat the patients who are severely deficient, then it would save many lives. As a side note, the researchers mentioned that their study is not a proof of a cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D deficiency and death of women in nursing homes, but only an association.

What to Do about Vitamin D Deficiency

A lack in vitamin D increases an older person’s risk for bone problems like osteoporosis. The treatment for this deficiency requires consumption of vitamin D up to 800 International Units per day.

By giving vitamin D supplementation to patients, it can benefit their bone health and protect them from bone problems like fractures. Existing literature points out the many adverse effects of having vitamin D deficiency. So, there is an urgent need to work on effective strategies that would improve the condition of older patients in nursing institutions especially with regards to their vitamin D status.

Photo credits: By I Craig from Glasgow, Scotland – Birthday Cake, CC BY 2.0

Categories: Health

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