Vitamin D Deficiency Increases Risk Of Pneumonia

elderly residents

Do You Have Lung Problems? Get Your Vitamin D Checked

Survival within a group of 112 patients admitted to Waikato Hospital with pneumonia was related to blood levels of vitamin D, sampled from each patient during their stay, a new study reveals. Researchers at Waikato University, who collaborated with doctors at Waikato Hospital, say patients admitted to hospital with pneumonia who also had severe vitamin D deficiency were more likely to die from the disease.

Those with severe deficiency – 15% of patients – were more likely to die within a month, when compared to the group of patients with normal or slightly low vitamin D levels. Patient age, sex, additional health conditions, other prognostic factors did not affect the research outcome. “However as an observational study we were not able to establish causal associations between vitamin D deficiency and mortality in these patients,” says Dr Ray Cursons from Biological Sciences at Waikato University.

The researchers do not know whether supplementing vitamin D for patients will alter respiratory tract infection outcomes: “It may transpire that vitamin D helps us avoid infection rather than cure it once established,” says respiratory specialist Dr Noel Karalus.

The research findings have been published in the May 2011 issue of the journal Respirology.

Eric’s view: ALL doctors should check their patient’s Vitamin D levels, particularly those who are frail, elderly and infirm. Being inside increases your risk of Vitamin D deficiency, because your sunlight exposure decreases significantly – particularly over winter. If you are reading this and spend a lot of time inside – get your Vitamin D checked.