A disease is a particular abnormal condition, a disorder of a structure or function, that affects either a part of the body or the complete body of the organism. The study of disease is called pathology. The diseases are generally caused due to the deficiency of nutrients in our diet.
Deficiency Disease: this occurs due to a deficiency of one or more nutrients in the diet.
Further, it can be divided into three types:
- Protein Energy Malnutrition
- Mineral Deficiency Diseases
- Vitamin Deficiency Diseases
Protein Energy Malnutrition:
Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) refers to a form of malnutrition where there is inadequate calorie or protein intake. Several children in the age group of 1-5 years suffer from this disease.
PEM occurred due to two reasons:
- Lack of intake of Proteins or carbohydrates
- Excess intake of carbohydrates
PEM caused two types of diseases a) Marasmus b) Kwashiorkor
It is caused due to the deficiency of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It usually affects infants below the age of one year.
- Wasting of muscles reduces the child to skin and bones
- Folded skin
- Sunken eyes, thin face, thinning of limbs and abdominal walls
- Retarded physical and mental growth
- Oedema and skin pigmentation is absent
Marasmus can be cured by a nutritious, well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. A balanced diet will reduce the risk of malnutrition and any other risks related to marasmus.
Kwashiorkor is a form of malnutrition that occurs when there is insufficient intake of protein in the diet. Kwashiorkor is most common in areas where there are famine, limited food supply and low levels of education (when people do not understand how to eat a proper diet).
This disease is more common in poor countries. It often occurs during a drought or other natural calamity. These conditions are responsible for the lack of food, which leads to malnutrition.
The most common symptoms of Kwashiorkor are
- Changes in skin pigment
- decreased muscle mass, diarrhoea
- failure in gaining weight or growth
- Hair changes (change in colour or texture)
- Increased and more severe infections due to a damaged immune system
Kwashiorkor can be cured if adequate protein and carbohydrate-rich food are included in the diet.
Mineral Deficiency Diseases
Minerals are specific kinds of nutrients that the body needs to function properly. A mineral deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t obtain the required amount of a mineral.
To stay healthy, the body requires a different amount of each mineral. The minerals can be obtained from food, mineral supplements, and other food products that have been fortified with extra minerals.
Types of Mineral Deficiency Diseases
There are five main types of mineral deficiency: calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Calcium deficiency: It causes Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults
Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. It also supports the proper function of blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and hormones. Natural sources of calcium include milk, yoghurt, and cheese, along with some vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage. Some foods are also fortified with calcium, including tofu, cereals, and juices.
Deficiency of Calcium causes Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults.
Symptoms of a severe deficiency include cramping of the muscles, numbness, tingling in the fingers, fatigue, poor appetite, and irregular heart rhythms.
Iron deficiency: It caused Anaemia
Iron is important for the formation of the respiratory pigment haemoglobin present in the blood. Deficiency of Iron results in the reduction of red blood cells (RBC). Iron is also a part of other proteins and enzymes that keep the body healthy. The best sources of iron are animal products like meat, poultry, or fish, and plant foods such as beans or lentils.
The symptoms of iron deficiency, anaemia which includes weakness and fatigue, poor performance at work or school, and slow social and cognitive development in children.
The body needs magnesium for hundreds of chemical reactions. These include reactions that control blood glucose levels, blood pressure, proper functioning of muscles and nerves, and protein production. Good sources of magnesium include legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Magnesium deficiency is uncommon in healthy people. This is because the kidneys can keep magnesium from leaving the body through the urine. Early signs include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
Potassium is required for muscle contraction, proper heart function and the transmission of nerve signals. It is also needed by a few enzymes, including one that helps the body turn carbohydrates into energy. The best sources of potassium are fruits like bananas, potatoes, plums, orange juice, and vegetables.
The most common symptom of potassium deficiency is an excessive loss of fluid from the body. This is caused by extended vomiting, kidney disease, or the use of certain medications like diuretics. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle cramping and weakness, and constipation, bloating, or abdominal pain caused by paralysis of the intestines.
Zinc plays a role in many aspects of the body’s metabolism. These include protein synthesis, immune system function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. It is also important for proper growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. Zinc is found in animal products like oysters, red meat, and poultry. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products are also good sources of zinc.
Iodine Deficiency: Goitre and Cretinism
Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroxine (a hormone produced by the thyroid gland). Iodine deficiency causes the thyroid gland to enlarge and swell, this is called goitre.
The symptoms include protruding eyes, stunted growth, puffy appearances, irregular heartbeat and low intelligence. Deficiency of iodine results in another disease called cretinism. Symptoms of Cretinism are stunted growth, retarded mental growth, and low metabolic rate.
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