Vitamin D Levels in Patients Presenting with Non-Specific Neuromuscular Pain and Fatigue in Ethiopia

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Guta Zenebe


BACKGROUND: Vitamin D is an important micronutrient impacting multiple physiologic functions including calcium, phosphorus and bone metabolism. Various studies demonstrate low vitamin D levels in non-specific neuromuscular pain disorders and chronic-fatigue-syndromes. This observation was supported by significant improvement of these disorders following Vitamin D supplementation. Several studies demonstrate low serum vitamin D levels in healthy adult Ethiopians despite availability of abundant sunlight.

METHOD: Retrospective medical records review of 62 patients presented to Yehuleshet Specialty Clinic between March 2014- August 2015 with non-specific neuromuscular pain and fatigue. Serum vitamin D levels were obtained at initial clinic visit.

RESULTS: The mean (±SD) age was 51.5 ±15.5 years. Two-third (69.4%) of the participants were female. The majority (56.5%) presented with mixed symptoms, including generalized body ache, paresthesia, neck and back pain, while 45.2% reported fatigue. Fifteen (24.2%) participants were on antiepileptic drugs. All patients had initial serum vitamin D levels < 30 ng/ml, among these 62.9% demonstrated severe deficiency (< 12 ng/ml). Thirty (48.4%) participants reported symptomatic improvement after treatment with standard doses of vitamin D and calcium. Age > 50 years, being housewife, use of antiepileptic medications (AEDs), and higher serum parathyroid hormone are associated with severe vitamin D deficiency.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients with non-specific neuromuscular pain and fatigue. Vitamin D replacement resulted in significant clinical improvement. It is important to screen vitamin D in individuals with limited sunlight exposure and patients on AEDs when presenting with neuromuscular pain and fatigue.

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Author Biography

Guta Zenebe, Addis Ababa University

Department of Neurology, School of
Medicine College of Health Sciences
Addis Ababa University