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Oral steroid use associated with low vitamin D levels

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

Individuals who take oral steroids for conditions like asthma, Crohn's disease or lupus may benefit from vitamin D testing, as a new study has shown that the medications may cause a severe drop in levels of the nutrient.

This could pose a serious problem for patients, as vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a range of musculoskeletal problems, as well as compromised immune health.

For the study, researchers from Yeshiva University examined results from previously collected surveys. The findings showed that roughly 11 percent of individuals who reported to using oral steroids also said they had experienced severe vitamin D deficiencies. Comparatively, only about 5 percent of those who did not use the medications had low levels of the nutrient.

The researchers said doctors should take these findings into consideration when they give a patient a prescription for an oral steroid and take appropriate precautions to make sure they do not suffer low vitamin D levels.

"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," said Amy Skversky, who led the study.

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