Vitamin D deficiency: Walking with a waddle? It could be due to low levels – what to spot

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses vitamin D and Covid

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A vitamin D deficiency may produce no symptoms, or symptoms may take several years to appear. However, it may increase the risk of long-term health problems including how a person walks.

Having healthy bones protects you from various conditions, including osteomalacia.

A person needs vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones and reduce fatigue and weakness in the muscles.

Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy.

Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures.

One study delved into a vitamin D deficiency effect on muscles and walking.

The study noted: “Prolonged and severe vitamin D deficiency can result in secondary hyperparathyroidism and osteomalacia.

“Osteomalacia is a disorder of decreased mineralisation of newly formed osteoid at the site of bone turnover, which can be manifested with symptoms such as diffuse body aches and pain.

“Muscles weakness from vitamin D deficiency causes difficulty in walking, developing proximal myopathy.”

A case reported was examined of a 51-year-old woman who experienced slow progressing weakness in the limb muscles affecting the way she walked with a waddling gait.

On whole-body bone scintigraphy diffuse metabolic changes were present, and in DXA osteoporosis was shown due to severe vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Treatment with high doses of vitamin D and calcium replacement improved clinical manifestation of osteomalacia for a few months.

Absent waddling gait with no pain was evident due to the better muscle and bone performance after the treatment proving that being deficient in vitamin D could overtime affect the way you walk.

Risk factors for a vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Geographical factors
  • Pollution
  • Absorption problems
  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Skin type
  • Age.

Best food sources to help improve your vitamin D levels:

  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks.

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