As summer comes to a close, Illinoisans are preparing for the transition into fall and winter. For many this might mean pulling out the jackets from storage, trying fun fall recipes and sending the kids back to school. While the transition can be exciting, it means shorter and darker months in Illinois are looming.
If you have been living in Illinois for a while you might know what to expect from the weather. However, you might not know that these darker days predispose you to having a vitamin D deficiency which actually leads to many people feeling even more lackluster during these upcoming dreary days.
Each vitamin and mineral have a unique and specific role in ensuring your body stays healthy. For example, vitamin A supports vision, the B vitamins keep up your energy and vitamin C helps your body heal.
Vitamin D helps boost immune function, reduce inflammation, aid neuromuscular function and help absorb calcium. It is a fat soluble vitamin found in food and manufactured in the body from exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. That is why in northern latitudes, like Illinois, it is very common to have a deficiency.
Even with a healthy, balanced diet with the appropriate casual exposure to the sun some people still experience deficiencies.
Don’t worry though, deficiencies can be diagnosed by a simple blood test during a wellness check with your primary care provider (PCP).
Wellness checks are a great time to talk to your PCP about your health, discuss changes or problems you have noticed and get ready for those long winter days.
You don’t have to be sick to request an exam; PCPs actually recommend a wellness check at least once a year, especially in people over the age of 50.
To make an appointment with your PCP, call your PCP’s office. If you don’t know who your PCP is, please reach out to your health insurance. Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) are happy to assist you and help coordinate your benefits.
This year as you fall back into your fall and winter routine make sure to maintain a balanced diet, sneak in walks in the sun on those nice days and connect with your PCP as well as your health insurance to maximize your health and get the most out of your benefits.