Steroid Drugs and Vitamin D Deficiency

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Steroids are widely used by many individuals including those who are medically needing it and those who are not. Athletes and other sports inclined individuals usually take this medication in order to pop up their muscles, thus helping them to be strong for the competitions. Other individuals who have asthma and autoimmune diseases are advised to take steroids in order to decrease inflammation or suppress their overacting immune system. However, use of these oral steroid medications can increase the risk of an individual of having Vitamin D deficiency, according to a new study.

Steroid is a type of an organic compound in a form of a drug which is usually given by doctors to individuals to halter inflammation. Although, this drug can be legally administered by medical professionals, still consultation and verification of dosages and other important matters should be done in order to prevent health problems that may rise.

Vitamin D deficiency or also known as hypovitaminosis D is often caused by inadequate intake of vitamin D and inadequate sun exposure. Also, it can be secondary from other diseases which halter vitamin D absorption. Symptoms include: muscle twitching, and bone problems.

The new study which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, include the analysis and examination of data gathered from a health survey done between 2001 and 2006 for almost 23,000 Americans. The researchers also had taken into account those factors which can affect the development of vitamin D deficiency among the respondents. These include use of vitamin D supplement, milk intake and obesity.  The researchers found out that in general, out of those who were taking steroids, about 11 percent of them had a low level of vitamin D in their body, and 5 per cent of individuals not taking the steroids had the same condition.

Furthermore, the researchers also claimed that those individuals who were taking oral steroid medications have twice of the risk to have Vitamin D deficiency as to those who were not taking the drug.

According to the researchers of the study, those people who are taking steroid as part of their medication must also consult their doctors for their vitamin D levels.

“When doctors write that prescription for steroids and they’re sending the patients for lab tests, they should also get the vitamin D level measured,” Dr. Amy L. Skversky, lead researcher, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said.

Moreover, Skversky suggests that through this study, both the patient and the doctor should be aware of the possibilities of the development of this health problem, in order to prevent the possible development of vitamin D deficiency for those who are using oral steroids.

As for the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, “rickets and osteomalacia are the classical vitamin D deficiency diseases. In children, vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, a disease characterized by a failure of bone tissue to properly mineralize, resulting in soft bones and skeletal deformities.”

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