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Vitamin D deficiency in patients with intellectual disabilities: prevalence, risk factors and management strategies

  • Valeria Frighi (a1), Alireza Morovat (a2), Matthew T. Stephenson (a3), Sarah J. White (a4), Christina V. Hammond (a5) and Guy M. Goodwin (a5)...

Abstract

Background

People with intellectual disabilities have a high risk of osteoporosis and fractures, which could partly be as a result of vitamin D deficiency.

Aims

To compare the serum vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels of 155 patients with intellectual disabilities under psychiatric care and 192 controls, investigate potential risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in people with intellectual disabilities and assess available treatments.

Method

Cross-sectional observational study followed by treatment evaluation.

Results

Almost twice as many patients with intellectual disabilities had vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D <50 nmol/l) compared with controls (77.3% v. 39.6%, P<0.0001). In the intellectual disabilities group, winter season (P<0.0001), dark skin pigmentation (P<0.0001), impaired mobility (P = 0.002) and obesity (P = 0.001) were independently associated with lower serum 25(OH)D. In most patients, 800 IU colecalciferol daily normalised 25(OH)D levels.

Conclusions

Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in people with intellectual disabilities, partly because of insufficient exposure to sunlight. Screening and treatment strategies, aiming to reduce these patients' high fracture risk, should be introduced. Similar strategies may be required in other psychiatric populations at risk for fractures and with a tendency to spend excessive time indoors.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Valeria Frighi, University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry, Neurosciences Building, Warneford Hospital, Warneford Lane, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. Email: valeria.frighi@psych.ox.ac.uk

Footnotes

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Baily Thomas Charitable Fund.

Declaration of interest

V.F. and G.M.G. have received grants from the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund. G.M.G. has also received grants from Servier, and speaker honoraria or fees for advice from AstraZeneca, Cephalon/Teva, Eli Lilly, GSK, Lundbeck, Merck, Otsuka, Servier, Takeda and Sunovion.

Footnotes

References

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Vitamin D deficiency in patients with intellectual disabilities: prevalence, risk factors and management strategies

  • Valeria Frighi (a1), Alireza Morovat (a2), Matthew T. Stephenson (a3), Sarah J. White (a4), Christina V. Hammond (a5) and Guy M. Goodwin (a5)...

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