Hello, long time no see. Yes, its been a while hasn’t it?
Before I dive into all the medical stuff, I would just like to tell you that last night I managed to go for a short 20 minute run, I took it slowly and carefully but I managed it and it felt absolutely fantastic! I went back to week one of the Couch 2 5K programme as it has been 3 months since I had to stop and it felt awesome. The fact that I have now been a non-smoker for 3 and a half months meant that my body absorbed Oxygen more efficiently than it used to do and my breathing felt so much more comfortable.
Anyway, some of you may be aware that I have been having various tests lately because of the horrendous hip/pelvic pain that I have been having. An x-ray came back fine so I had a blood test last month and got the results from my G.P today. It turns out that I have a severe Vitamin D deficiency. I had no idea what this was or what it meant for me but I emerged from my Doctor’s office armed with a mass of info and a prescription for some medication. I would never be able to explain it without sounding like a hypochondriac, a fool or both so here is a summary of the info given to me by my Doc.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is important for good health, growth and strong bones. A lack of vitamin D is very common. Vitamin D is mostly made in the skin by exposure to sunlight. Most foods contain very little vitamin D naturally, though some are fortified (enriched) with added vitamin D. A mild lack of vitamin D may not cause symptoms but can cause general aches and pains. A more severe lack can cause serious problems such as rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults), described below. Treatment is with vitamin D supplements. Some people are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency, and so are recommended to take vitamin D supplements routinely. These include all pregnant women, breast-fed babies, children aged under 5, and people aged 65 and over. Also, people who do not get much exposure to the sun, people with black or Asian skin types, and people with certain gut, liver or kidney diseases.
Symptoms in adults
- General vague aches and pains and a general sense of not being well are the common symptoms.
- In more severe deficiency (known as osteomalacia), there may be more severe pain and also weakness. Muscle weakness may cause difficulty in climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or can lead to the person walking with a waddling pattern.
- Bones can feel painful to moderate pressure (often more noticeable in the ribs or shin bones). Not uncommonly, people have a hairline fracture in the bone which is causing tenderness and pain. Bone pain often also occurs in the lower back, hips, pelvis, thighs and feet.
What is the treatment for vitamin D deficiency?
The treatment is to take vitamin D supplements. This is a form of vitamin D called ergocalciferol or calciferol. Vitamin D can be given as an injection or as a medicine (liquid or tablets). Your doctor will discuss the dose, and best treatment schedule, depending on your situation, age, severity of the deficiency, etc. Briefly, one of the following may be advised.
Family and friends know that I avoid the sunlight like the plague. If the sun is bright I go ducking for cover, I hate it. I worked permanent night shifts for years and behaved like a Vampire…without the blood-drinking of course! However, I now must get 20-30 minutes in the sunlight (by a window does not count!) at least 3 times a week. Who knew that my hatred of the sun would cause so much pain and suffering? Not me, that’s for sure…I didn’t have a clue! So, there you have it…I am a Vampire and I am completely crap at it too.
I now have a medication regime for the next couple of months and I will need to have my blood tested again in 3 months time. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have a diagnosis. I have been in this pain on and off for 3 years now, sometimes I would be pain-free for months but then it would come back even worse and I knew there was something wrong with me, my Steve knew there was something wrong with me, we just had to find out what it was. It has taken a while but with the help of Steve and my G.P both of whom always took me seriously, we now know what it is.
I now plan to very gently start running again ready for Billie-Jane’s 5K in September and hopefully the medication and sun will help me to be as pain-free as possible and with a bit of luck and a following wind I will be seeing a lot more of this…
…over the coming weeks.