You may know that the sun and particular foods are great sources of vitamin D. But did you know that because of chronic kidney disease, millions of Americans cannot convert the form of vitamin D generated by the sun or discovered in food and over-the-counter vitamins into the active form of vitamin D used by the body? This implies that even if you’re consuming vitamin D pills, getting sufficient sunlight or eating foods rich in vitamin D, your bones and organs might be at risk because of a deficit in “active” vitamin D.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a problem in which kidney function slows and the kidneys discontinue carrying out vital functions for example filtering toxins from the bloodstream.
The severity of CKD is categorized in stages, with stage 5, also called kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), being the most severe. Patients with ESRD require dialysis, a procedure where several times a week for several hours their bloodstream is routed through a machine that filters toxins.
So what does CKD have to do with vitamin D, let alone your bones?
Before the body can use vitamin D, it needs to be “activated”. Inactive vitamin D – the vitamin D you get in the form of over-the-counter pills, food or sunlight- is activated by two steps, one in the liver and the other in the kidneys.
For people with CKD, however, their kidneys’ capability to activate adequate amounts of vitamin D drops as their general kidney function diminishes. In fact, people with kidney disease might eventually lose the ability to activate vitamin D altogether.
If levels of active vitamin D are low or inadequate within the body, a severe complication of CKD called secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) can occur. SHPT can lead to a wide range of problems, such as injury to bones and numerous vital organs.
How is SHPT prevented and treated?
When CKD and SHPT are detected early, the conditions might be managed and disease progression might be slowed.
Keep in mind, individuals with stage 3 or 4 CKD who acquire SHPT can’t convert vitamin D into its active form within their own kidneys. Specialists suggest that these patients with stage 3 or 4 CKD and SHPT take an activated form of vitamin D medication-which is obtainable only by prescription-to treat their vitamin D deficiency and therefore treat SHPT. Managing SHPT lowers danger for bone loss or fracture, cardiac complications and harmful mineral and hormonal imbalances.