People who are on oral steroids are twice as likely to suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency than the general population, reveals a new study.
According to a study of more than 31,000 children and adults by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, physicians should diligently monitor Vitamin D levels in patients being treated with oral steroids.
"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," Amy Skversky, the lead author said.
The researchers examined data collected from participants who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2006.
About one percent of the participants answered "yes" when asked if they had used oral steroids during the previous 30 days, whereas eleven percent of the self-reported steroid users had severely low vitamin D levels compared to a severe vitamin D deficiency of 5 percent for people not taking steroids, which showed a two-fold increased risk for severe vitamin D deficiency.
The risk of deficiency was particularly pronounced in steroid users under the age of 18, who were 14 times more likely to have a severe vitamin D deficiency compared with young non-steroid users.
The findings of the study have been published in the 28th September online edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.