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Family screening is effective in picking up undiagnosed Asian vitamin D deficient subjects

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Vitamin D deficiency has been described in the Asian migrants to the UK from the early 1960s. In spite of some suggestions that this problem is declining, we continue to see clinical cases of vitamin D deficiency with osteomalacia presenting to hospital. As the aetiology of this condition is associated with social, cultural and dietary factors, we screened associated family members of 18 index cases (three males 15 females, age range 12–73 years) who presented with clinical vitamin D deficiency to hospital. Of the 36 (21 females, 15 males) screened, 67% of these had evidence of vitamin D deficiency as judged by a 25(OH)VitD of < 5 g L–1 (5–40). Some subjects also had hypocalcaemia (n=2), low PO4 (n=7), raised PTH (n=8) and raised alkaline phosphatase (n=11), indicating severe symptomatic, but unrecognized, vitamin D deficiency. Family screening seems an effective way of identifying Asian subjects with vitamin D deficiency who otherwise remain undiagnosed. A preventative policy with implementation is long overdue for this easily treatable condition.
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Keywords: Asian; family; vitamin D deficiency

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-10-01

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