I’ve been hearing a lot about Vitamin D and how it can affect one who lives with an autoimmune disease. It’s been on TV programs to a tip in women’s magazines.
When I asked my rheumatologist about it last week, she quickly said, “Yes, let’s add it to your next lab test.” (And as you may know that doctors are rarely sided to take action based on hot topics or magazine articles about health tips.)
This announcement from the Mayo Clinic was just released this week so I wanted to pass it along to you. You may want to ask your doctor at your next visit if you should have your Vitamin D checked. It’s hard for any physician to ignore the advice of the Mayo Clinic.
See the complete article here: Mayo Clinic Study Suggests Those Who Have Chronic Pain May Need to Assess Vitamin D Status
Mayo Clinic research shows a correlation between inadequate vitamin D levels and the amount of narcotic medication taken by patients who have chronic pain. This correlation is an important finding as researchers discover new ways to treat chronic pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. These patients often end up taking narcotic-type pain medication such as morphine, fentanyl or oxycodone.
This study found that patients who required narcotic pain medication, and who also had inadequate levels of vitamin D, were taking much higher doses of pain medication — nearly twice as much –– as those who had adequate levels. Similarly, these patients self-reported worse physical functioning and worse overall health perception. In addition, a correlation was noted between increasing body mass index (a measure of obesity) and decreasing levels of vitamin D. Study results were published in a recent edition of Pain Medicine.
“Physicians who care for patients with chronic, diffuse pain that seems musculoskeletal — and involves many areas of tenderness to palpation — should strongly consider checking a vitamin D level,” he says. “For example, many patients who have been labeled with fibromyalgia are, in fact, suffering from symptomatic vitamin D inadequacy. Vigilance is especially required when risk factors are present such as obesity, darker pigmented skin or limited exposure to sunlight.”
Assessment and treatment are relatively simple and inexpensive. Levels can be assessed by a simple blood test (25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]). Under the guidance of a physician, an appropriate repletion regimen can then be devised. Because it is a natural substance and not a drug, vitamin D is readily available and inexpensive.