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Aurora Health Care Urges All Wisconsin Residents To Take Vitamin D

Friday, December 05, 2008

Milwaukee, Wis. -- Aurora Health Care is ramping up its efforts to promote the use of Vitamin D supplements. Aurora's Care Management Clinical Leadership Team members committed this week to educate all Aurora caregivers about the benefits of Vitamin D. The decision is in response to growing evidence that higher Vitamin D levels may improve outcomes for patients with heart disease, osteoporosis, certain muscle conditions and seasonal depression.

"We are the first integrated health care system to advocate for community wide use of Vitamin D," says Dr. John Whitcomb, Aurora's medical director for patient access. "We want everyone in the state of Wisconsin to take Vitamin D during the winter."

Staff at Aurora's Pharmacy, QuickCare and Urgent Care centers are now trained to educate patients on Vitamin D's benefits and what dosages to take, Dr. Whitcomb says. Aurora Sinai Medical Center's emergency department instituted a policy this week that every chest pain patient receives a loading dose of Vitamin D. Other Aurora hospitals are considering adopting similar strategies, and Aurora is in the process of spreading the word among its physician offices and clinics.

Dr. David Smith, Aurora's medical director for care management, supports a strategy recommending people take 1,000 to 2,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily. During the winter, the angle of the Midwest sun is so low that the skin does not get any ultraviolet rays, which it needs to make Vitamin D.

In related news this week, research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recommends physicians screen for and treat low Vitamin D levels in patients due to its link to major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and stroke.

About 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women in the United States have levels of the vitamin that are considered too low.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers care at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Myrle Croasdale
414-649-3917
myrle.croasdale@aurora.org

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