Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (3): 263–268
Background Accumulated data in the past years suggest that vitamin D deficiency has an adverse effect on cardiovascular (CVD) health and that its prevalence is significantly higher among patients with CVD risk factors, contributing to the pathogenesis of CVD.
Materials and methods This is a cross-sectional analysis of a relatively large database derived from a health care maintenance organization. The population consisted of individuals 18 years and older who had undergone blood tests for vitamin D levels for any reason during 2001–2008.
Results The study population consisted of 34 874 individuals: 26 699 (76·6%) were women at a mean ± SD age of 55 ± 15 and 8175 men (23·4%) aged 55 ± 17. The mean ± SD vitamin D level was 23·2 ± 10·1 and 22·7 ± 9·9 for men and women, respectively. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency (vitamin D levels < 30 ng mL−1) for the entire study population was surprisingly high for men and women (79·2% and 77·5%, respectively). This remained consistent with only little variation when stratified by age. The group with vitamin D < 15 ng mL−1 vs. the group with vitamin D levels ≥ 30 ng mL−1 demonstrated a significant (P < 0·031) age-adjusted odds ratios for the presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, obesity and peripheral vascular disease for women (OR = 1·19; 1·65; 1·13; 2·28; 1·85, respectively), and the presence of all the above except hypertension in men (OR = 1·51; 1·28; 2·06; 1·73, respectively).
Conclusions Vitamin D deficiency is associated with CVD and other risk factors in this Israeli study population. The prevalence of the deficiency in Israel is similar to the prevalence found in less sunny regions.