Am I at high risk of vitamin D deficiency?
There are certain groups of people at high risk of vitamin D deficiency, including those who:
- are housebound, particularly people aged over 65 years, or in aged care facilities
- have naturally dark skin
- wear clothing that covers most of their body — for example for religious or cultural reasons
- avoid the sun because of chronic illness, disability, or a condition that puts them at high risk of skin cancer (e.g. a suppressed immune system, such as after an organ transplant),
- have a health condition that prevents absorption of vitamin D (e.g. Crohn's disease, coeliac disease)
- take medicines that cause vitamin D to break down (e.g. some epilepsy medicines).
People with very low levels of vitamin D (moderate to severe deficiency) are most at risk of health problems.
Women need to maintain healthy vitamin D levels during pregnancy, as their unborn baby needs vitamin D to help bone and tooth development. Some pregnant women may be at risk of low vitamin D — this is most likely if they have one or more of the risk factors listed above.
Breastfed babies who fall into the risk categories above or have mothers with low vitamin D may also be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Infant formula in Australia is fortified with vitamin D.