Prevalence of vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiency in patients reporting to the West Bank governmental hospitals in the period betweenJanuary 2015 and December 2018
Bitar, Dina M.
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Vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiencies are major public health problems; they may result from inappropriate low exposure to sunlight, autoimmune diseases or diminished intake. These two deficiencies have been extensively studied globally: causes, effects, treatment, as well as epidemiology. In Palestine the epidemiology of vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiencies has not been addressed. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiencies in patients reporting to the West Bank (WB) governmental hospitals in the period between January 2015 and December 2018. It is a retrospective cross-sectional study for the data collected from medical records of patients tested for these deficiencies in 12 WB governmental hospitals for the three years period. Out of 30890 patients tested for vitamin D levels, 88% had insu"cient vitamin D levels (< 30 ng/ml), whereas out of 43532 patients tested for vitamin B12, 19% had insu"cient vitamin B12 levels (< 203 pg/ml). The percentage of patients with insu"cient vitamin D levels is alarming. The percentage of patients with insu"cient vitamin B12 levels falls within ranges reported by other studies in various countries. In conclusion, this study revealed an alarmingly high percentage (88%) of vitamin D deficiency below the reference su"ciency level among patients suspected to have such a deficiency. Around one fifth of the patients tested for vitamin B12 had insu"cient levels. Because testing for vitamin D is costly, we suggest, that medical suspicion of vitamin D deficiency would be adequate to initiate treatment to alleviate the expense, especially in high-risk groups such as elderly women. Future studies have to address major risk factors contributing to these deficiencies that are specific to our community.