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Deficiency Diseases

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Deficiency Diseases - Lesson Summary

Deficiency diseases
Disease is the abnormal condition which makes the body weak and a person cannot perform his normal work. Deficiency diseases are the diseases which occur mainly due to the deficiency of one or more nutrients in the diet over a long period of time.
  • Wheat rich in carbohydrates is poor in nutrients like proteins and fats. Too much intake of wheat products results in deficiency of proteins and fats, thereby reducing the growth.
  • Lack of proteins also results in stunted growth. It can cause skin diseases, swelling of the face, discolouration of hair, and even causes diarrhoea.
  • So, a balanced diet is to be taken to avoid deficiency diseases.

Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM)
Deficiency of proteins in the diet results in the development of diseases related to PEM. Kwashiorkor and Marasmus are two types of diseases related with protein energy malnutrition.

a) Kwashiorkor is one type of disease related to protein energy malnutrition. It affects mainly children under five years of age who do not get protein in their regular diet.
Symptoms: Child exhibits stunted growth, anaemia, swollen legs, discolouration of hair etc.
Treatment: Children affected should be given milk, eggs and other protein rich food.

b) Marasmus is also a disease related to protein energy malnutrition. It affects mostly infants who feed on mother's milk who receive less proteins in their diet.
Symptoms: Lean muscles, weak bones, rough skin, weak legs, mental retardation etc.
Treatment: Protein rich diet should be consumed by mothers who feed their children with breast milk.
Diseases caused by deficiency of minerals a) Iron deficiency: Lack of iron in the diet leads to a deficiency disease called anaemia.
Symptoms: Headache, dark patches under the eyes, weakness and feeling tired.
Treatment: A balanced diet which includes iron-rich food such as apples, fish and raisins to avoid anaemia.

b) Iodine deficiency: Lack of iodine in the diet leads to a deficiency disease called goitre.
Symptoms: Thyroid gland does not function properly. In adults, goitre results in swelling of glands near the throat. In children, iodine deficiency causes stunted mental and physical development.
Treatment: Iodine deficiency can be avoided by using iodised salt in the diet. It is advised to have sea food which are rich in iodine.

c) Calcium deficiency: Lack of calcium in the diet makes the bones weak and brittle. It can also cause tooth decay.
Symptoms: Rickets, weak bones and teeth prone to cracking, stunted growth, excess bleeding from wounds.
Treatment: Diet should include milk, eggs, dairy products, leafy vegetables.

d) Phosphorous deficiency: Lack of phosphorous in the diet makes the bones weak and brittle. Improper functioning of the heart and muscles. Genetic material in our body are not formed properly.
Symptoms: Bones and teeth are fragile. Disorders in the muscular system.
Treatment: Diet should contain milk, green vegetables and cereals.
Diseases caused by deficiency of vitamins: a) Vitamin A: Lack of vitamin A in the diet causes loss of vision.
Symptoms: Night blindness, i.e. poor vision in dim light, dryness in the mouth.
Treatment: Diet should contain carrot, mangoes, butter and egg yolk. These will help in development of vision.

b) Vitamin B 1 : Lack of vitamin B 1 in the diet causes a deficiency disease called beriberi.
Symptoms: Loss of weight, weak muscles, paralytic effect.
Treatment: Beans, meat, eggs and corn help in avoiding beriberi. Diet rich in vitamin B 1 helps in curing the disease.

c) Vitamin C: Lack of vitamin C in the diet causes a deficiency disease called scurvy.
Symptoms: Bleeding gums, swelling of joints. Moreover, wounds take longer time to heal. Treatment: Oranges, tomatoes, lemon, guava and amla are rich in vitamin C. Consuming the above fruits help us to avoid scurvy.

d) Vitamin D: Lack of vitamin D in the diet causes a deficiency disease called rickets. Symptoms: Deformed and soft bones, decaying teeth.
Treatment: Diet should include fish, eggs, milk and butter to avoid rickets. In addition, exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in the body.

e) Vitamin E: Lack of vitamin E results in early ageing.
Symptoms: Wrinkles on face and body skin
Treatment: Diet should include milk, eggs etc

f) Vitamin K: Lack of vitamin K results in delayed clotting of blood.
Symptoms: Excess bleeding from injuries.
Treatment: Diet should include fish liver oil, milk eggs etc.

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