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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 9-16

Vitamin D deficiency in adolescents


1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt
2 Pediatric and Adolescent Outpatients Clinic, Quisisana Hospital, Ferrara, Italy
3 Department of Primary Health Care, AbuNakhla Hospital, Doha, Qatar
4 Department of Radiology, AlKhor Hospital, Hamad Medical Center, Doha, Qatar
5 Department of Faciomaxillay Surgery, University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Ashraf T Soliman
Professor of Pediartics and Endocrinology, Alexandria University Children's Hospital, Alexandria, Cairo
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.145043

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The prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency (VDD) in adolescents is variable but considerably high in many countries, especially in Middle-east and Southeast Asia. Different factors attribute to this deficiency including lack of sunlight exposure due to cultural dress codes and veiling or due to pigmented skin, and less time spent outdoors, because of hot weather, and lower vitamin D intake. A potent adaptation process significantly modifies the clinical presentation and therefore clinical presentations may be subtle and go unnoticed, thus making true prevalence studies difficult. Adolescents with severe VDD may present with vague manifestations including pain in weight-bearing joints, back, thighs and/or calves, difficulty in walking and/or climbing stairs, or running and muscle cramps. Adaptation includes increased parathormone (PTH) and deceased insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) secretion. PTH enhances the tubular reabsorption of Ca and stimulates the kidneys to produce 1, 25-(OH) 2D3 that increases intestinal calcium absorption and dissolves the mineralized collagen matrix in bone, causing osteopenia and osteoporosis to provide enough Ca to prevent hypocalcaemia. Decreased insulin like growth factor-I (IGF-I) delays bone growth to economize calcium consumption. Radiological changes are not uncommon and include osteoporosis/osteopenia affecting long bones as well as vertebrae and ribs, bone cysts, decalcification of the metaphysis of the long bones and pseudo fractures. In severe cases pathological fractures and deformities may occur. Vitamin D treatment of adolescents with VDD differs considerably in different studies and proved to be effective in treating all clinical, biochemical, and radiological manifestations. Different treatment regiments for VDD have been discussed and presented in this mini-review for practical use. Adequate vitamin D replacement after treating VDD, improving calcium intake (milk and dairy products), encouraging adequate exposure to the sun and possible enrichment of the stable food with vitamin D in areas with high prevalence of VDD are important measures to prevent the harmful consequences of VDD.


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