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Vitamin D Levels and Sociodemographic and Clinical Correlates in Individuals With Serious Mental Illness Admitted to an Acute Psychiatry Unit

Lakshminarayana Chekuri, MD, MPH; Purushottam B. Thapa, MD, MPH; Carolyn L. Turturro, PhD; Dinesh Mittal, MD; and Erick Messias, MD, MPH, PhD

Published: April 30, 2015

Article Abstract

Objective: To describe the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in psychiatric inpatients with serious mental illness. Associated clinical and sociodemographic factors are also explored.

Method: Data were collected using a retrospective review of medical records. Eligible subjects were individuals aged ≥ 18 years who were consecutively newly admitted to an adult inpatient teaching unit of a state psychiatric hospital from July 2012 through August 2013. The main outcome measure was prevalence rate of vitamin D deficiency in the target population. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a level < 20 ng/mL. Psychiatric diagnoses were established using DSM-IV-TR criteria.

Results: Of 85 subjects, approximately two-thirds (67%) had a vitamin D level < 20 ng/mL. The mean vitamin D level was 18.4 ng/mL. Among the sociodemographic and clinical factors analyzed, only total serum protein (odds ratio = 0.33; CI, 0.12-0.88; P < .05) was associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency with all the attendant physical and mental health burdens in vulnerable populations such as individuals with serious mental illness requires further large research studies. In the meantime, it seems prudent to institute routine screening for vitamin D deficiency in individuals with mental illness, especially those who are hospitalized.

Volume: 17

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