Diseases Caused by Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient critical for maintaining healthy vision, skin, and immune system. In medical terms, it is also called retinol. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is crucial for the maintenance of kidneys, heart, lungs, and other vital organs. A deficiency of vitamin a manifests itself in dry and damaged eyes, skin, and other body tissues. It is widely noticed among children and adolescents, particularly in low-income countries.
Symptoms of vitamin a deficiency are easy to notice, but often ignored by most people as seasonal ailments. If not attended at the initial phase, the symptoms can develop into debilitating vision and skin-health disorders.
What Causes Vitamin A Deficiency?
There are primarily two leading causes of vitamin A deficiency. They are:
Inadequate levels of vitamin A in the diet of a person.
Body’s inability to properly synthesize vitamin A from the diet.
Vitamin A deficiency happens when a person’s diet is devoid of any vitamin A fortified food items like milk, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and fruits. Certain health conditions like liver disorders, intestine surgeries, and diarrhea can also decrease the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A from the diet.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency
Caption:: Woman rubbing her eyes, Credit: Pixabay
A mild vitamin A deficiency is difficult because of the lack of symptoms. But some of the warning signs of this vitamin’s deficiency that you should not overlook are
Skin, chest, and throat infections.
Dry and weak eyes
Dry hair, chapped lips, and brittle nails
Stunted growth in children
Infertility issues in women
Ulcers and lesions in the mouth
Dry and itchy skin
Vitamin A Deficiency Diseases
The most common way vitamin A deficiency occurs is by the inability to absorb and process vitamin A from the diet by the body. It can give rise to diseases like
Bile duct disorder
Complete vision impairment
Respiratory tract infections
Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitamin A Deficiency
Caption: vitamin A deficiency picture, Credit: Pixabay
The doctor diagnoses vitamin A deficiency through blood tests and symptoms exhibited by a person. Eye tests are also conducted to determine if vitamin A deficiency is behind the experienced vision problems.
A vitamin a deficiency treatment plan includes administering high doses of vitamin A orally in the form of a supplement to children and adults. It is done until the vision, and skin problems show signs of improvement.
How Can Vitamin A Deficiency Be Prevented?
Caption: Vitamin A rich foods, Credit: Pixabay
Regular consumption of vitamin A-rich food sources like carrots, mangoes, whole milk, eggs, fish, spinach, and potatoes will prevent the occurrence of vitamin a deficiency diseases. You should consume at least 4-5 servings of fruits and green leafy vegetables every day in your diet.
Children and adolescents who are at risk of developing vitamin A deficiency are advised to include vitamin A supplements in their diet. However, the supplementation should be done under strict medical supervision.
Vitamin A deficiency can be easily recognized and prevented in most people. There are lots of food sources of vitamin A that are readily available in all seasons. Ensure that you eat them with a source of fat like oil or cheese to enable its full absorption by the body.