Vitamin D Deficiency and Falls in Older Adults
Fuller, Debra J
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Community dwelling older adults living independently in their homes commonly are found to be vitamin D deficient (Venning, 2005). The older adult population over age 60 comprises a group with increased risk for deficiency due to co-morbid conditions, as well as decreased intake of vitamin D and lack of exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency has been described as being essential for multiple body functions, including muscle stability, strength and balance. The purpose of this literature review was to evaluate the clinical, humanistic, and economic outcomes of vitamin D supplementation in older adults. Available research demonstrated not only a correlation between falls and vitamin D deficiency, but also that falls can be reduced with supplementation and normalization of serum vitamin D levels. Falls result in fractures leading to hospitalizations, increased health care costs, and ultimately loss of independence for older adults. Thus, appropriate assessment, supplementation, and monitoring to optimize serum D3 levels in older adults can contribute to reducing the morbidity, mortality and health care costs associated with falls in the older adult population.