An increasing number of women are serving in the military. We initiated a retrospective study to evaluate vitamin D status and monitoring in female veterans, and to examine the potential link between vitamin D status, age, race, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), health care costs, and utilization. Approximately 44 percent of the 3,608 female veterans evaluated between 2001 and 2010 were vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D < 20 ng/ml), a rate substantially higher than that of the general population. While younger (<55 years) and older (55+ years) women did not differ significantly in initial vitamin D status, older women had significantly more vitamin D monitoring and follow-up testing than younger women. Approximately 44 percent of vitamin D deficient women did not receive follow-up vitamin D testing. Minority female veterans were most likely to be vitamin D deficient. Female veterans with PTSD did not differ from others regarding their initial vitamin D status; those that were initially deficient were significantly more likely to receive follow-up testing and were more likely to achieve a replete state. Vitamin D deficiency in female veterans was also associated with increased health-care costs. Appropriate monitoring and replacement of vitamin D should be offered to all female veterans.
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- vitamin D