Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vitamin A deficiency

Where it is the limiting nutrient, vitamin A deficiency causes anemia, growth retardation and xerophthalmia; increase the incidence and/or severity of infectious episodes and reduces childhood survival. Vitamin A deficiency is a major global problem.

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the US, but it is still a major public health problem in the developing world. It is most often associated with protein/calorie malnutrition and affects over 120 million children worldwide. 

Vitamin A affects many physiological systems; it plays a essential role in vision and eye health and it affects growth and susceptibility to infection and anemia in children.

In ancient Egypt it was known that night blindness could be cured after eating liver, which was later found to be a rich source of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency contributes to blindness by making the eye very dry, damaging the cornea of the eye (called xerophthalmia), and promoting damage to the retina of the eye.

The consequences of vitamin A deficiency include blindness, poor growth, severe infection and death; it control and prevention are central in child health and survival programs.

Other less well known consequences of vitamin A deficiency include:
*Increases mortality rates among infants 6 months to 6 years of age.
*Augments the severity, complications and risk of death associated with measles.
*Associated with increased infant morbidity, particularly in the severity of disease episodes, such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
Vitamin A deficiency
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