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Marek asked...

Low Vitamin D levels

Hello, how can I arrange a private GP appointment for my wife? (a dependant on my AXA plan) and how does AXA provide or cover this type of service? My wife has been suffering with severe body pain for months. The NHS did blood tests and found lower than normal Vitamin D levels and prescribed a 10 week course of Vitamin D supplements (one tablet per week) after which time we were meant to wait a further 6 weeks before going back to the NHS if the pain has not subsided. Needless to say we're 70% of the way through this process and the pain has not subsided at all. Your advice would be appreciated.

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The answer

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If the pain that your wife is suffering from is caused by vitamin D deficiency, it is likely that the vitamin deficiency is severe. Severe vitamin D deficiency can be responsible for joint, bone and muscle pain. She is will have developed this level of deficiency over a long period of time and equally it will take quite some time for it to be corrected.

We are not sure what dose of Vitamin D your wife has been prescribed but it is typical for a patient with deficiency to be prescribed a high-dose weekly supplement for up to 10 weeks. The aim of this is to bring your wife’s levels up to normal limits. At the end of this course it is then usual for the patient to be given a lower maintenance dose to take long-term. It takes at least 3 months for a steady level of Vitamin D to be reached within the body and this is the earliest time at which blood levels should be tested again. It is thought by some that it would be more prudent to wait until the 6 month mark to check them again. However, serum calcium levels should be checked 1 month after completing her 10 week course.

It is not in any way unusual for your wife’s pain not to have improved yet. We're sad to say that in some cases recovery from pain can take many months. It is important to speak to the doctor in more depth about the pain and to find out whether they feel that it is definitely due to the vitamin D deficiency. She may benefit from taking pain killers in the meantime and it is also important for her not to exercise too much. However, as she starts to feel better a weight-bearing exercise such as walking, would be sensible.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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