testing for vitamin d deficiency on the rise
Labs across the country, including ARUP Laboratories, are doing about twice as many tests for vitamin D deficiency this year as they did last year. This increase in testing is due to a growing concern that aging Americans are not getting enough vitamin D, a deficiency of which can lead to diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Dr. A. Wayne Meikle, medical director of the Encocrinology and Automated Endocrinology Laboratory at ARUP, discusses the importance of vitamin D deficiency testing in the July 7, 2008, issue of The Dark Report: “There has been extensive press about the health issues related to vitamin D deficiency, and much of the media coverage has included education on the value of maintaining vitamin D levels. At the same time, physician awareness has increased as they realize how common vitamin D deficiency is among their patients.”
According to Dr. Meikle, approximately 30 percent of the individuals tested at ARUP have a vitamin D deficiency. Factors that contribute to a vitamin D deficiency include lack of exposure to sunlight and reduced milk consumption.
- Across the nation, labs report a near doubling
in the volume of vitamin D tests they are performing. This is a success
for laboratory medicine and an appropriate use of diagnostics
tests as physicians strive for early detection and early intervention
of vitamin D deficiency. However, the next chapter in this story will
be equally important. Will Medicare and private payers recognize
that, per evidence-based medicine guidelines, this testing is justified
and labs should not be punished for increased utilization?
(The Dark Report. “Vitamin D Test Volumes Doubles in Past Year.” July 28, 2008.)