Study: More doctors testing for vitamin D deficiency as disease prevention tactic
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — New research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center suggests that physicians are ordering vitamin D deficiency screening tests for preventive care purposes rather than after patients develop conditions caused by decreased bone density.
For older patients, having a low vitamin D level is a condition that can cause weakening of bones, which can lead to fractures, and in children the deficiency can lead to rickets. The 2011 Institute of Medicine guidelines for vitamin D and calcium emphasize their importance in skeletal health and increased research findings, along with widespread media reports, have raised awareness about vitamin D deficiency, the researchers reported.
Karen Huang, a research specialist in the Center for Dermatology Research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and lead author of the study, said the rise in vitamin D deficiency awareness among doctors warranted a look at how often doctors were diagnosing this condition during visits.
"From 2007 to 2010, we noted that the number of diagnoses for vitamin D deficiency rapidly increased and tripled from 2008 to 2010," Huang said. "Previously, diagnoses of low vitamin D levels largely may have been used to identify why someone had a fracture or weak bones. In our data, we found that only 10% of visits with low vitamin D mentioned the patient having weak bones or a fracture."
The study is published in the April issue of Southern Medical Journal of the Southern Medical Association. Huang and colleagues used data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care surveys to assess the rate of vitamin D deficiency diagnoses made between 2007 and 2010 during outpatient visits. An estimated 7.5 million visits were linked with the condition at outpatient visits in the United States during this time frame.
At visits where patients were diagnosed with low vitamin D levels, the average patient age was 56.9 and females were 2.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency than males. Individuals 65 years or older were also almost three times more likely to be diagnosed as deficient compared to individuals younger than 65, according to the study.
"We believe this increase in visits with a diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency, but without a diagnosis of weak or fractured bones, suggests that a lot of doctors now are checking patients for this deficiency so that they can help prevent the patients from developing weak bones," Huang said.
Tide preps for spring cleaning with latest addition
CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble is introducing new Tide Oxi Multi-Purpose Stain Remover. The cleaner will hit shelves just in time for the annual spring cleaning tradition and will give consumers the ability to clean both in and out of the laundry room, the company said.
Tide Oxi can be used to clean everything from carpet and upholstery to bathtubs and patio furniture. Consumers also can use it as an additive to laundry detergent as an added stain fighter.
“Tide prides itself on offering the best laundry care products to make it easy to clean life’s messes,” said Karen Klei Schlosser, associate marketing director, P&G North American Fabric Care. “But we know that stains and spills happen outside the laundry room, too. That’s why we are excited to introduce a product that will allow for the deep-down Tide clean in the wash and around the house.”
Tide Oxi Multi-Purpose Stain Remover is available in Refreshing Breeze scent at retailers across the United States and carries a suggested retail price of $12.99 for a 7.5-lb tub.
AAFA releases top 100 allergy capitals
LANDOVER, Md. — Louisville, Ky., was named the No. 1 spring allergy capital, up from No. 5 last year, on Monday by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Louisville earned top allergy honors because of its higher-than-average pollen counts, high use of allergy medicines by local patients and too few allergy specialists in the metro area, AAFA stated.
The southern and southeastern United States will be particularly bad for allergy sufferers. All 10 of the top 10 allergy cities are in these two regions:
- Louisville, Ky.;
- Memphis, Tenn.;
- Baton Rouge, La.;
- Oklahoma City;
- Jackson, Miss.;
- Chattanooga, Tenn.;
- Richmond, Va.;
- Birmingham, Ala.; and
- McAllen, Texas.
It’s the 12th year of the report, the AAFA noted.