Vitamin D toxicity

Alternative names 
Hypervitaminosis D

Definition
Hypervitaminosis D symptoms appear several months after excessive doses of vitamin D are administered.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
An excess of vitamin D causes abnormally high blood concentrations of calcium which can eventually cause severe damage to the bones, soft tissues, and kidneys. It is almost always associated with forms of vitamin D that require a doctor’s prescription.

Symptoms

     
  • Dehydration  
  • Vomiting  
  • Decreased appetite (anorexia)  
  • Irritability  
  • Constipation  
  • Fatigue

Signs and tests

     
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)  
  • Polyuria (passing large amounts of urine)  
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)  
  • Hypercalcemia (excess calcium in the blood)  
  • Hypercalciuria (excess calcium in the urine)

Tests to confirm the diagnosis:

     
  • Calcium - serum  
  • Phosphorus - serum  
  • 25 hydroxyVitamin D levels  
  • 1,25 dihydroxyVitamin D levels  
  • X-ray of the bone (focusing on the long bones)

Treatment
Stop vitamin D intake. Consult your physician. In severe cases, other therapy may be necessary.

Expectations (prognosis)
Recovery is expected.

Complications

     
  • Kidney damage  
  • Kidney stones

Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you or your child shows symptoms of hypervitaminosis D and you have been taking vitamin D in excess of the recommended daily allowance or have been taking a prescription form of vitamin D.

Prevention
To prevent this condition, pay careful attention to appropriate vitamin D intake.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Simon D. Mitin, M.D.

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