Surge in US Outpatient Vitamin D Deficiency Diagnoses: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Analysis
AbstractObjectives: In light of the growing medical interest in the potential consequences of vitamin D deﬁciency, it is important that clinicians are informed about the varying factors that may complicate the assessment of vitamin D status and the diagnosis of deﬁciency. To better understand the frequency of vitamin D deﬁciency diagnoses in the ambulatory setting over time, the objective of this investigation was to examine unspeciﬁc, general, and bone-related vitamin D deﬁciency diagnoses between 2007 and 2010 and to determine whether the rate of diagnoses differed by patient age and sex.
Methods: We used data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to assess the rate of vitamin D deﬁciency diagnoses provided between 2007 and 2010 during outpatient visits with nonfederally employed physicians in ofﬁces and hospitals. Two hundred ninety-two unweighted patient visit records were included. Trends in vitamin D deﬁciency agnosis over time, diagnosis of bone disease associated with a vitamin D deﬁciency diagnosis, and patient age and sex were reported.
Results: The number of diagnoses for vitamin D deﬁciency rapidly increased from 2007 to 2010. More than 97% of diagnoses were for unspeciﬁc vitamin D deﬁciency; 9.6% of vitamin D deﬁciency visits also resulted in a diagnosis of osteoporosis or bone fracture.
Conclusions: Although the rate of diagnoses for vitamin D deﬁciency increased between 2007 and 2010, many diagnoses rendered were for nonspeciﬁc disease; therefore, vitamin D deﬁciency screening may have been ordered for preventive care purposes rather than as a diagnostic aid.
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