Is Breathing Trouble a Symptom of a Vitamin D Deficiency?

Difficulty breathing can be a temporary condition due to allergies or a short-term illness or it can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. In addition, a vitamin D deficiency can also be very serious and cause a variety of symptoms. Any time you have trouble breathing or if you are concerned about your vitamin D intake, it is best to check with your doctor to rule out serious causes and to determine how much vitamin D you need.

A man outside breathing in with his eyes closed. (Image: AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images)

Vitamin D

Getting enough vitamin D can be challenging as there are very few foods that are naturally rich in it. Since the body can make vitamin D from sunlight, a deficiency can also occur if you live in an area with limited sun, have limited unprotected exposure to sunlight or are dark-skinned. Vitamin D helps to keep your bones strong as it must be present for the bones to absorb calcium, and it also regulates the body's level of phosphorus. Getting enough vitamin D may also play a role in helping to lower your risk of heart disease. For good overall health, a general recommendation is for all adults to get between 600 to 800 IU of vitamin D per day, and your doctor may prescribe higher doses to help treat various conditions, says MedlinePlus.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Since a simple blood test can detect a vitamin D deficiency, it is best to talk to your doctor to make sure that a low level exists and if a deficiency is the cause of any symptoms you have, such as breathing problems. The main complication of a vitamin D deficiency is weak bones, which can show up as rickets in children or adults, and adults can also develop osteoporosis or osteomalacia, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements. Your bones can weaken without ever causing any symptoms until a fracture occurs, however, some also develop bone pain and muscle weakness. Difficulty breathing is not a common symptom of not getting enough vitamin D. However, conditions such as osteoporosis, which can be caused by not getting enough vitamin D, can make it hard to breathe.

Kyphosis

If osteoporosis or bone loss affects your spine, you may develop a change in posture called a kyphosis. A kyphosis refers to a rounding of the upper back and shoulders and is sometimes referred to as a "question mark posture." A kyphosis can occur without causing symptoms or there may be back pain or a loss of height. Severe kyphosis can reduce the space for internal organs and the lungs. This change can make it harder for some people to breathe or eat, and they may not get enough food and nutrition for their health, reports the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Prevention

Even though few foods are naturally high in vitamin D, many foods like milk, juice, cereals and breads are fortified with it. Getting into the habit of reading nutrition labels will help you find foods to meet your daily needs. When it comes to bone loss, your best bet is to have regular bone density tests, which can detect bone loss in the early stages before it becomes severe and causes symptoms. If your doctor diagnoses you with a vitamin D deficiency or bone loss, you may need supplementation. Supplements should only be taken under medical supervision because too much vitamin D can be toxic, and all supplements can interact with other medications you may be taking.

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