Kathmandu, August 13
Four out of five persons visiting public hospitals for treatment are diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, which causes osteomalacia – the softening and weakening of bones.
According to doctors, the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is assumed to result from inadequate exposure to the sun, which results in the development of osteoporosis — weakening of bones and it also leads to rickets — a bone disease among children resulting in bow legs.
A study carried out by Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital among 182 patients (106 male and 76 female) visiting the out-patient department from September 2014 to December 2015 revealed that 81 per cent had vitamin D deficiency.
Another retrospective study conducted by Chitwan Medical College, Bharatpur, from April 2015 to December 2016 among 108 children and adolescents visiting its OPD shows 74.1 per cent with vitamin D deficiency.
The study reveals that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found to be higher in females i.e. 95.2 per cent.
Females are more prone to vitamin D deficiency as there is a very low intake of nutrition in them, said Dipendra Pandey, consultant orthopaedic at Bir Hospital.
Women are usually found to be suffering from vitamin D deficiency after menopause because of lack of estrogen hormone. They are at high risk of suffering from weakening of bones, said Khem Raj Bhusal, consultant physician at Green City Hospital, Basundhara.
Vitamin D is also deficient in kidney and liver patients. “Kidneys and liver help in absorbing vitamin D. But when there are problems with kidneys and liver, vitamin D deficiency increases. When the digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D, chances of vitamin D deficiency increases,” said Dr Binod Kumar Yadav, chief of Department of Biochemistry at the Institute of Medicine, TUTH.
Vitamin D deficiency is also seen in those who apply sunscreens. Application of sunscreen prevents vitamin D absorption, Pandey said.
Vitamin D deficiency results in weakening of muscles, abnormal contraction, muscle cramps and pain in the bones. There are risks for bone fractures. Vitamin D is necessary for bone density growth to increase immunity and to fight pneumonia. It helps to maintain bone health by regulating calcium concentration in the body, added Pandey.
Houses in the city areas are attached leaving no space for sunlight and people prefer staying indoors. The colour of the skin of the Nepali people is darker, because of which there is less penetration of sunlight leading to vitamin D deficiency, said Bhusal.
Intake of junk food and malnutrition are other reasons. Genetic factors too play an important role in maintaining the required level of Vitamin D, said Yadav.
There are at least 30 people visiting the medical store daily to buy vitamin D tablets. The number was five or six, a couple of years before, said Kiran Kumar Shrestha, one of the staffers at Prakash Pharmacia Pvt Ltd, Teku.
Doctors advise people to sit under the sun to minimise the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Increasing urbanisation and changing food habits are also contributing factors for the decreasing level of vitamin D, they say.
Though the number of people with vitamin D deficiency is on the rise, the government has yet to take any initiative to curb this.
“The evidences are increasing of late. There are no programmes now. If any interventional strategies are used globally we too will be using it,” said Mahendra Shrestha, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population.
Exposure to sunlight and consumption of milk, milk products, fish and egg yolk helps maintain vitamin D levels, advised doctors.
A version of this article appears in print on August 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.
Prosecutors looking into bribe allegations Pressure had been building on royals to take action Former king remains "at the disposal" of prosecutors The 82-year-old helped guide Spain back to democracy MADRID: Spain's former king Juan Carlos has decided to leave his country, a drama Read More...
Oli to remain PM till general election, co-chair till General Convention: NCP leader Gokul Baskota Kathmandu, August 3 Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal and KP Sharma Oli held talks today in an attempt to break the current impasse in the party, but failed to Read More...
Airline companies have to resubmit their proposal for slots if flight operations are halted for more than 60 days Kathmandu, August 3 The government's decision to resume domestic and international flights from August 17 has prompted airline companies to start submitting their proposals to the Ci Read More...
Dhading, August 3 In view of increasing deaths related to river mining, the authority in Dhading decided to impose a complete ban on sand mining from rivers in the district during the monsoon season. There is already a rule that bans mining of river products using heavy equipment during the ra Read More...
Kathmandu, August 3 A committee formed to investigate Melamchi tunnel incident has concluded that one of the sluice gates on the tunnel of the Melamchi Water Supply Project had broken due to a technical error. A project engineer and a driver had died due to the flood resulting from the breakag Read More...
Kathmandu, August 3 Minister of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Padma Kumari Aryal has directed government employees to work responsibly as the ministry has the responsibility of protecting the property of over 30 million people of the country. She said this at the annual Read More...
Bhaktapur, August 3 Prime Minister and Co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) KP Sharma Oli today visited his private residence at Balkot and met with people from different walks of life. This is the third time the prime minister has visited his private residence after being electe Read More...
Kathmandu, August 3 Women and Social Welfare Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the home ministry to make some amendments to the legal arrangement and punishment related to incidents of acid attack, pointing out the need of timely revision. After the discussion held on ‘a Read More...