I have recently paid a visit to my Doctors for the results of a blood test. A couple of weeks earlier I had been sent for X-Rays for suspected OsteoArthritis of the left hip and the blood test was a routine follow-up to this.
Well, I was in for a surprise. The suspected hip problem that I thought I had, did not exist. So thankfully there would be no pending hip replacement operation in the near future. What I did have was a critically low Calcium and Vitamin D reading.
Now, knowing that the main source of vitamin D is sunlight, I was very surprised. As I explained to the Doctor I spend a lot of time outdoors, walking or partaking in some outdoor activity most weekends. I admit that during the week I spend all day in a windowless office sat in front of a PC. His response was just as surprising.
He suggested that there was a vitamin D pandemic and that it was getting worse. Whilst some of this could be attributed to lack of sunlight he suggested a more plausible cause – the genetic (DNA) of most Brits is not British!
With the coming of the Roman invasion 2000 years ago, he believed that a large proportion of our DNA makeup was Mediterranean. As a result we do not have the ability to absorb enough sunshine in the North Latitudes. Scandinavians do a better job because of their fair skin and blonde hair. Whilst Afro-Asians suffer the worse due to the darker pigment in their skin.
He also added that he believed age was a major contributory factor.
So what does vitamin D do? It plays a central role in such basic cell functions as multiplication, differentiation, and metabolism. Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. Both are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Hence his concern over the critically low calcium and vitamin D reading.
When he looked back through my case notes he commented on the tiredness. lethargy, aching limbs, increased incident of arthritic pain and finally this hip-joint episode. All of these complaints are directly attributed to a lack of Vitamin D. However, it is easily reversed by the administration of high dosage vitamin D tablets for 3 months followed by a permanent maintenance programme.
So why am I mentioning all of this here?
Simple, we are all getting older and a large proportion of us may have the same DNA background as I have. Therefore it is important, next time you complain of joint pain, to get your calcium and vitamin D levels tested. Do not allow your Doctor to fob you off with “it’s an age thing” insist that they take action.
Our health is important to all of us and so that we can continue to enjoy the outdoors and help to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, we must ensure that our Doctors make informed decisions.