Vitamin D testing

Increased interest in vitamin D deficiency, reports of its high prevalence in Australia and a suggested role in a range of health conditions has led to a surge in vitamin D testing and uncertainty about management. This issue has been the subject of an increasing number of consumer and health professional publications.

Since 2004/2005 there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of referrals for vitamin D tests. The greatest growth in vitamin D testing has occurred in people aged from 20 to 39 years. While current  Australian guidelines recommend vitamin D testing in a range of well-defined ´at risk´ populations (for example veiled women and people who are either institutionalised, elderly or dark-skinned), the consequences of routine testing in low-risk populations are unclear.

The NPS MedicineWise program about Preventive Activities in General Practice discusses why vitamin D tests may not be appropriate to request routinely for healthy people aged 40–49 who have no known risk factors.

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