Over the holidays, both Vishnu and I had our blood work done at his dad’s office. Believe it or not, I was excited. I am a firm believer in annual doctor’s visits, regular blood work, etc. It’s great to eat well and exercise regularly, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. I know, I know…I’m a dork, but as you read on, you’ll see that the eight vials of blood were well worth it (and yes, you read that correctly…eight vials!).
Anyway, Vishnu’s results came in the very next day. And overall, he’s a healthy guy. We just have to work on getting his HDL cholesterol levels up. Basically what it boils down to is that Vishnu needs to exercise more. He’s working on it!
My results came in two days later, and I am proud to report that I am one healthy lady. Vishnu’s dad told me to keep doing whatever it is that I’m doing. This was honestly a relief because a few years ago my overall cholesterol was slightly elevated and a little out of whack. It was nice to know that my (mostly) healthy habits are paying off.
So this is where the title of today’s post comes into play. Our vitamin D levels were the only thing that actually alarmed Vishnu’s dad when he read the results. Both of our levels are incredibly low. The normal range is generally 20-50 ng/mL. Mine was 13, and Vishnu’s was 17. Eek! No worries though, we immediately started taking a once a week (for 12 weeks) high dose supplement. This is to be followed by a daily 2000 IU supplement.
Vishnu’s dad was telling us that a lot of his patients are deficient in Vitamin D. He attributes this to limited exposure to sunlight, kidney issues, digestive issues, and weight problems. He also mentioned that those with darker skin have to be especially careful.
After talking through all of this, I came to realize why our levels were so low. For one thing, we have dark skin. Also, although we live in Florida, our direct exposure to sunlight is very limited. And finally, we don’t drink milk that has been fortified with vitamin D (
almond milk contains no Vitamin D Edited to add – I was wrong…Silk almond milk is fortified with vitamin D. Sorry for the confusion!), nor do we eat fish (a good source of vitamin D). I’m just glad we figured this out before our low levels caused complications.
After doing a little more research, I learned that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a number of different diseases, including (but not limited to) cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, asthma in children, and muscle weakness. I also heard Dr. Oz on the radio the other morning talking about how individuals with low levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to the flu. Scary stuff.
There are so many things that are not in our control when it comes to our own health. However, this is not one of them. All you have to do is be an informed patient and ask questions. Easy peasy!
And just for good measure, I have to mention that I am not a health care professional. The information in this post is based on my own personal experience. Please consult your doctor if you are going to make major changes to your diet, exercise regimen, and lifestyle.
When was the last time you had your blood work done?