health

'I had been exhausted for as long as I could remember. Then, I made the decision to see doctor.'

Last winter, I was so unwell for such a long time I convinced myself that something was wrong – seriously wrong.

I had been exhausted for as long as I could remember. I’d recover from one cold, only to be hit by another within days.

For months, I barely got off the couch. I stopped making plans with my friends altogether, because I knew that even if by some fluke I wasn’t bedridden with flu symptoms, I’d probably still be too exhausted to sit up let alone venture out of my apartment.

I was tired all the time; ready-for a-nap-as-soon-as-I-woke-up tired. And I was constantly, constantly sick with a sore throat, runny nose and a cough.

" I was constantly, constantly sick with a sore throat, runny nose and a cough." Image via iStock.

As someone who had always been susceptible to colds, and at first I thought it was just a run of particularly bad luck. Then I thought my shattered immune system might have been the result of prolonged stress.

But by mid-winter, I was at the end of my tether. So I booked a doctor’s appointment - only to be told I just had the flu, and that I should drink orange juice and take vitamin C tablets.

I felt uneasy about the doctor’s diagnosis, to say the least. I am far from a hypochondriac, and I rarely make doctor’s appointments, especially not for a sniffle. But at the same time, I trusted the doctor, and told myself he was probably right, and that I was fine and just unlucky.

Only, I didn’t get better. Not at all. I booked an appointment with a different doctor. I explained that my symptoms were not normal. And I faced my life-long fear of needles, and asked for a blood test.

Within days, I finally had an answer – low vitamin D levels. Looking back now, it’s hard to describe exactly how much of a relief it was to finally know that I hadn’t been imagining all my symptoms, and that the problem could be easily fixed.

At that point, I knew nothing about vitamin D apart from the fact that you got it from the sun.

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But my new doctor patiently explained that deficiencies were very common, and that they wreaked havoc with immunity.

"I could get through the workday without seriously considering napping under my desk." Image via iStock.

I was immediately put on vitamin D tablets with an added dose of calcium (as vitamin D deficiencies can also affect your bones) and slowly, step by step, I started to improve.

I could get through the workday without seriously considering napping under my desk.

I didn’t wake up in the morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck.

And best of all? I had the energy to actually see all my friends that’d I’d been neglecting the entire winter.

Last week, I had another blood test to see how my vitamin D levels were doing after being on supplements for a few months, and I’m chuffed to report there’s been a huge improvement. I’m still taking my daily dose, and will need to keep getting semi-regular blood tests for the near future – but it’s worth it. It’s so, so worth it.

If you’ve never had your health hijacked by a vitamin D deficiency, it’s probably hard to understand the massive impact it can have on your life. In hindsight, I was a barely-functioning shell. But now? I have energy. I make plans, and have a social life. I just feel healthy – in other words, I’m back to normal.

I want to kick myself for waiting so long to get tested – so if you’re feeling run down, tired and sore, please – just do it.

Disclaimer: Mamamia does not purport to give medical advice. If you have any concerns about your vitamin D levels - or any other health worries - you should make an appointment to see your doctor.

Do you or someone you know struggle with low vitamin D levels?