It is crucial for children to grow up with sufficient vitamins in order to make sure that they grow up healthily. This is because deficiencies in any type of vitamin may hamper their growth. For instance, if they fail in having enough vitamin D in their body, they may have bone problems. But how do you know whether your child’s vitamin D level is enough or not? This is where a vitamin D test comes in handy.
A vitamin D test can determine whether your child’s vitamin D levels too high, too low, or normal. Through this, you can see whether your child has sufficient vitamin D to help him build a stronger skeletal system, as well as a better immune response. Vitamin D has also been attributed to proper muscle growth and function.
What Is a Vitamin D Test and How Is It Administered?
A vitamin D test measures and assesses the vitamin D level in the body at that time through testing the blood. This medical evaluation is the ideal one to consider if you want to know whether your child’s vitamin D levels are high or low. It is also occasionally used to assess vitamin D levels in persons suffering from chronic conditions, such as psoriasis, asthma and certain autoimmune disorders.
There are 2 common ways of testing Vitamin D levels:
- Finger prick test – can be conducted at home by anyone
- Blood sample test – must be conducted by a medical practitioner
Afterward, the blood sample will be analyzed to see your vitamin D levels. If your child’s result shows a vitamin D level of between 50 nmol/L and 125 nmol/L, then, his vitamin D’s normal. But if it is less than 30, your child may have a vitamin D deficiency.
The Definition of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D insufficiency is a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D offers a number of crucial functions in our body, such as making sure that you have strong bones, absorbing and regulating calcium, and strengthening one’s immune system. Hence, a deficiency in it exposes us to several health risks. It may also cause a number of symptoms, such as:
- tiredness or fatigue
- weakness of the muscles
- cramps and pain in the muscles
- changes in one’s mood
Pediatricians must screen every child for risk indicators and request a vitamin D test for those determined to be at high risk. Children may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency if they have any of the following:
- those who consume a diet that lacks vitamin D
- breast-fed babies since breast milk may have minimal vitamin D (source)
- children who are overweight
- those suffering from cystic fibrosis, type 1, and type 2 diabetes
- those with darker skin
- those with gastrointestinal illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome, which may impair food intake
- those who like keeping their whole body covered
- those spend most of their time inside and do not receive much or any sunlight
- thos who are taking medications that have an effect on vitamin D levels
What Happens If Vitamin D Insufficiency Is Left Untreated?
Ignoring a vitamin D test to determine your children’s vitamin D levels is very unsafe and may result in various issues. Chronic and unmanaged vitamin D insufficiency may harm multiple organs and functions, particularly bone development and strength, digestion, the heart, and immune system. Yet, it seldom creates obvious symptoms and frequently goes unrecognized.
Moreover, a child’s vitamin D insufficiency may result in skeletal abnormalities (see here), weak bones, recurrent fractures, and early osteoporosis later in life. But, new research reveals that vitamin D is involved in much more than bone health. Also, it has shown a relationship between low vitamin D levels and some malignancies, heart disease, immune suppression, and even early mortality. Furthermore, experts emphasize that these studies do not prove that vitamin D deficiency causes cancer or heart disease. Still, they imply that vitamin D may play a significant role in developing such problems.
Hence, a vitamin D test is necessary for a child’s healthy growth and development. This can help you address any vitamin D deficiency as soon as possible before they develop into other complications.