Stroke leads to a reduction in bone mineral density, altered calcium homeostasis, and an increase in hip fractures. Vitamin D deficiency is well documented in long-term stroke survivors and is associated with post-stroke hip fractures. Less is known regarding levels in acute stroke.

We compared the serum 25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels of 44 patients admitted to an acute stroke unit with first-ever stroke with results obtained by measuring 96 healthy ambulant elderly subjects every 2 months for 1 year. Statistical Z scores of serum vitamin D were then calculated after seasonal adjustment for the month of sampling.

The mean Z score of vitamin D in acute stroke was -1.4 SD units (95% CI, -1.7, -1.1), with 77% of patients falling in the insufficient range.

Reduced vitamin D was identified in the majority of patients with acute stroke throughout the year and may have preceded stroke. Vitamin D is a potential risk marker for stroke, and the role of vitamin D repletion in enhancing musculoskeletal health after stroke needs to be explored.

PMID: 16322500

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