Historically, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with bone diseases such as rickets. However, you may not be aware that lower than normal levels of vitamin D can also contribute to your risk of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies show a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and peripheral arterial disease. Epidemiologic studies (those that look for the cause of an illness or problem) have linked low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in men.
Individuals who live in climates where there is less sun exposure, or further from the equator, are at a higher risk of developing coronary artery disease, hypertension and diabetes, which is consistent with the rates of vitamin D deficiency in these populations.
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in 30-50 percent of the world’s population. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle pain, joint pain and fatigue, and these symptoms can mimic the side effects of various medications.
The reference ranges for the Vitamin D 25 Hydroxy blood test (measures levels of vitamin D) at the Cleveland Clinic lab are:
- Insufficiency/Moderate Deficiency: ≤30 ng/mL
- Sufficiency/Optimal Levels: 31 to 80 ng/mL
- Toxicity: >100 ng/mL
Please talk with your physician or nurse practitioner about any questions or concerns you may have about your vitamin D level.
Lee JH, O’Keefe JH, Hensrud DD, Holick MF. Vitamin D Deficiency an Important, Common, and Easily Treatable Cardiovascular Risk Factor? J Am Coll of Cardiol. 2008;52:1949-1956.