Vitamin A deficiency symptoms are easily recognised and could show us important facts about our health
Vitamin А is also named retinol/beta-carotene/retinal. This vitamin is important for many body functions including the human eyes, our immune system, etc. They can not function properly without enough Vitamin A. Well known fact is that Vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness during childhood! Keep in mind that the excessive amount of this vitamin can lead to vitamin toxicity.
Vitamin A is present in various and popular foods of plant and animal origin. For this reason, more people manage to get the right amount of it. However, you need to know the symptoms that occur when your body has a deficiency of Vitamin A. When knowing these vitamin A deficiency symptoms you can focus on proper nutrition to get the right amount of it for your body.
An interesting fact about vitamin A deficiency is that it is often caused by different diets.
Some of the most important vitamin A deficiency symptoms are listed bellow as a quick reference:
- Changes in the eyes The symptoms of deficiency of vitamin A start with itching, inflammation and burning of eyelids followed by various other eye conditions. Prolonged deficiency of Vitamin A results in a condition known as blindness or nictalopia, in which a person is unable to see properly in dim light, especially after exposure to a bright light. This Vitamin A deficiency symptom is also referred to as ‘Functional night blindness’.
- Skin changes: This can also lead to dry, rough and scaly skin with itching sensation. The keratin layers of the skin on the soles and the palms get thickened. Skin changes are one of the most obvious Vitamin A deficiency symptoms
- Epithelial changes: The deficiency of vitamin A leads to degeneration and keratinisation of the epithelium cells. These cells get flattened and gathered one upon the other in a heap. The epithelium gets damaged so severely that the condition is incurable.
- Changes in the respiratory tract due to Vitamin A deficiency: The respiratory tract becomes susceptible to bacterial infection as the linings of the respiratory organs like throat, nose, bronchi and tracheas become dry and rough.
- Symptoms with changes in the Alimentary tract: When the alimentary tract dries up which results in lack of absorption, increased sensitivity to intestinal infection, diarrhoea, etc.
- Problems with the reproductive tract: Vaginitis can be seen in females. Keratinising metaplasia occurs in the bladder, renal pelvis, oviduct, uterus and accessory sex glands.
- Urolithiasis: This is a condition in which urinary calculi are present. The stones are made of calcium phosphate.
- Changes in the Skeletal System: Irregular development of the skeleton. Including the vertebral column and the skull is the result of deficiency of Vitamin A. This leads to malformation and injury of the spinal cord and the brain.
- Lowered Resistance to Infection: For the functioning and maintenance of the mucous membranes of the body Vitamin A is needed. When there is a vitamin a deficiency the membranes are thin, porous, dry and flaky and are unable to perform their protective functions and thus bacteria have ready access.
Causes of Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency leads to some serious health issues. Hence it’s very important for everyone to know about the causes and the symptoms. Following is a list of the most common causes of deficiency of Vitamin A:
- The biggest reason behind deficiency of Vitamin A is malnutrition. People with low intake of animal foods usually have the risk of this deficiency.
- Mothers who don’t breast feed their children properly put them at the risk of developing Vitamin A deficiency as breast milk contains Vitamin A in good amount for newborns.
- A newborn baby is very likely to get deficiency of vitamin A if a pregnant mother is suffers from the lack of Vitamin A
- Some diseases like sprue, obstructive jaundice, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, giardiasis, cirrhosis, etc results in the mal-absorption of vitamin A by our body.
- Over urination is also known to cause deficiency of Vitamin A.
- Sometimes hepatic diseases results in lack of storage ability of Vitamin A by our body are the causes of vitamin A deficiency.
Information from WHO(World Health Organization) about vitamin A deficiency:
- Vitamin A deficiency is the major cause of children blindness which can be prevented! Around half a million children are affected each year. Half of this cases of vitamin deficiency will lead to complications.
- There is high risk of disease, infection and even lethal end because of it.
- It can night serious problems to pregnant women like night blindness.
- This is as increasing problem in most of the countries in Africa and Asia.
- World Health Organization estimates that around 250 million 0 to 7 years old children suffer from deficiency of vitamin A.