The issue of getting enough Vitamin D is new to most people, but it sounds like you've been dealing with it for years. As you probably know, Vitamin D plays a crucial role in establishing and maintaining strong bones. People with low Vitamin D levels often have low bone density. In recent years more cases of Vitamin D insufficiency have been reported than in the past, and it has received a lot of media attention.
Vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency is usually identified by the results of a blood test, Vitamin D 25(OH). The goal is to achieve a blood level of 30 ng/ml. Your most recent result of 13 ng/ml is still below the optimum. 50,000 IU of prescription Vitamin D per week is a common treatment for Vitamin D insufficiency. In people who have normal Vitamin D blood levels, 50,000 IU could, in fact, be toxic. In your case, however, this is probably a safe dose.
NOF recommends 800 - 1000 IU per day for healthy adults age 50 and older; 400 - 800 IU per day for adults under age 50. Once your blood level reaches a healthy number, your Dr. will most likely decrease your dose to the point at which you can maintain a normal level.
Side note: Check the label on your prescription. I think the 1,25 you are referring to is the type of Vitamin D, not the mg. Vitamin D 1,25 is the active form of Vitamin D found in the body.
Possibly the doctors have been so concerned with your mother's other health issues that bone health has fallen below the radar. You should request a copy of her latest bone density test if she has had one. If not, ask the Dr. if he/she feels one should be ordered. Make an appointment for you and your mother to discuss the test results and any treatment recommendations.
Loss of such a significant amount of height can signal vertebral compression fractures, found in many people with osteoporosis. You can suggest that a VFA (vertebral fracture assessment) be done at the time of the bone density test, if that technology is available at the facility. Otherwise request a prescription for a thoracic and lumbar spine xray to evaluate your mother's spine for vertebral compression fractures. If she has had these fractures, the doctor will usually diagnose her with clinical osteoporosis and treat her with an approved osteoporosis medication, taking into consideration her other medications and health conditions.
Calcium and Vitamin D are critical components to an osteoporosis treatment plan. Specific recommendations on type and dose should be discussed with the doctor.
Especially important in your mother's case is fall prevention. You have already taken a significant step to reduce her risk of falls and fractures by reviewing the medications which may contribute to dizziness and lightheadedness with her doctors. If her health allows, ask your mother if she would consider joining a Tai Chi class, often available at senior centers, to improve her balance. Also be sure she has had recent vision and hearing exams as deficits in these senses can contribute to falls.
For more details on fall prevention strategies, safe movement and more, you can contact NOF directly by visiting http://www.nof.org/response_form/contacts.asp . Complete the online form and make sure to select "Health Information & Education Requests" in the Question Dept. field. Please reference WebMD and fall prevention. NOF will email you a series of safety handouts.View Thread
If you are at risk for osteoporosis or already have it, it's important that you have a healthcare provider who knows about the disease. While there is no one type of medical specialty dedicated to osteoporosis, many healthcare providers are qualified to diagnose and treat it. Some doctors who may have experience in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis include:
• Endocrinologists • Rheumatologists • Family physicians or general practitioners • Internists • Geriatricians • Gynecologists • Orthopedists • Physiatrists
Some other health professionals who may be able to help people with low bone density or osteoporosis include:
• Nurses and nurse practitioners • Physical therapists, physiatrists and occupational therapists • Physician assistants • Registered dietitians
If you need to see a specialist, your primary healthcare provider may be able to suggest one. If you don't have a primary healthcare provider or your healthcare provider can't help you, call your nearest university hospital or community hospital and ask for physician referral services or the department that cares for osteoporosis patients. This department varies from hospital to hospital. In some facilities, the department of endocrinology or metabolic bone disease treats osteoporosis patients, and in others it may be the department of rheumatology, orthopedics or gynecology. Some hospitals also have a separate osteoporosis program or women's health clinic that treats osteoporosis patients.
To help you locate a healthcare provider who diagnoses or treats osteoporosis, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) has developed a Professional Partner's Network® (PPN) directory. While NOF cannot endorse any of the healthcare providers or healthcare organizations in the PPN directory, this may be a good place to start. To access the directory, visit www.nof.org and click on "Find a Doctor."View Thread