Nutrition Deficiency Disorders And Their Respective Treatments

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Kwashiorkor is a nutrient deficiency disorder which is caused due to a lack of protein in the diet. It is most frequently found in infants or children who do not consume enough proteins in their diet but it could affect anyone. Kwashiorkor can be recognised fairly quickly as the main symptoms of the disorder is excess fluid in bodily tissues, which result in skin swelling all over the body. Other symptoms may include a larger stomach, muscle loss, fatigue or itchy skin which could lead to dermatitis. It is important to understand that Kwashiorkor can be a fatal illness if it is neglected for a prolonged period of time as infants are prone to infections.

Kwashiorkor can be diagnosed from a doctor’s examination to check for hepatomegaly or body swelling, however blood or urine samples, as well as a biopsy could be taken to check for any abnormalities. The disorder can be treated fairly easily if it is found early on, as the person would only have to eat foods that are part of a therapeutic diet. A therapeutic diet is a modified diet that monitors the consumption of certain nutrients. Therefore, the person would consume foods which contain large amounts of protein and other nutrients. However, if the person is not diagnosed with the disorder early on, then hospital treatment would be necessary as the patient would have to monitor his glucose levels to prevent hypoglycaemia, as well as maintaining water balance levels in the body to achieve homeostasis to prevent cell damage. Low water levels can be treated by an oral rehydration solution which regulate the salts in the body. The person may also feel colder than usual as their metabolic rate is decreased which as a result reduces the heat production as there is a limited energy supply. This can be controlled by keeping the person in a warm environment to prevent hypothermia. The treatment should take roughly 2-6 weeks.

Anaemia is a nutritional deficiency disorder as it is caused by a lack of iron in the diet. Iron is needed in the diet to improve the delivery of oxygen to the cells, as it binds with the protein in the bloodstream known as haemoglobin. Anaemia essentially means that a person may have less erythrocytes than normal or that there is less haemoglobin in each erythrocyte. Anaemia can occur at any life stage to any gender. Children suffer from anaemia mostly because of the lack of food availability with a high source of iron, at the same time as having higher haemoglobin which has to control the child’s growth simultaneously. Pregnant women are prone to anaemia as they lose a large amount of blood during menstruation. The disorder can be recognised by symptoms such as frequent headaches or feeling tired, faint and breathless. This is caused as there is a slower rate of oxygen delivery in the body.

Other less common symptoms could contain heart palpitations, change in taste, tinnitus or paleness. However, taking a blood test which contains a full blood count will show if a person has anaemia as the number of cells in the blood sample will be presented. After the reason for anaemia has been found, it can be easily treated by taking tablets which contain a larger amount of iron than normally found in foods, other more complicated cases of anaemia could mean that more intensive treatments would be necessary. If the treatment is completed successfully then a person could start to recover in 2-3 weeks. However, if the deficiency is not treated then it could damage the heart as the organs will still require the same amount of oxygen as always, therefore the heart has to pump blood faster through the body, which will result in atrial fibrillation that could lead to heart strokes.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that form ulcers on the large intestine. It is inflamed as the body responds to infection or inflammation by releasing white blood cells into the area that is being attacked by foreign substances. Ulcers commonly develop on the surface of the intestinal lining as these can bleed and secrete mucus. Ulcerative colitis may be portrayed as a chronic condition as it can be lifelong. There may be periods of fair health where no symptoms occur and there may be relapses as the symptoms increase in pain. The precise cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown however research indicates that factors such as an overactive intestinal immune system, the person’s genes or the surrounding environment of the person may contribute to creating ulcerative colitis. A hyperactive intestinal immune system may cause the defence system to attack the lining of the intestine which could lead to symptoms.

The persons family history could help indicate if the person has ulcerative colitis as it could have been a disease that has been present in the family’s genes in the past, however there has not been a strong relationship between abnormal genes and ulcerative colitis. The persons environment and lifestyle could contribute to ulcerative colitis as the person could be taking anti-inflammatory drugs which could increase the likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis. The disease could occur at any life stage to any gender, but it is mostly seen to develop with people aged between 15 and 30, older than 60 years of age or people who already had a case of inflammatory bowel disease in their family history. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis include diarrhoea containing blood or pus, abdominal cramping, tiredness, nausea, weight loss, high body temperature or in rare cases anaemia, due to the loss of blood. Ulcerative colitis can be diagnosed by looking into a person’s family history, a physical examination of the body, laboratory tests or colonoscopy. A physical examination could diagnose the disease as swelling of the abdomen would occur, as well as the tenderness of the abdomen could show if it is inflamed or not. Laboratory tests such as blood tests or stool tests may need to be carried out.

A blood test will show if there is a smaller number of erythrocytes in the blood, which could indicate to anaemia or increased blood loss by bowel movements. A stool test can rule out any other gastrointestinal diseases such as infections. A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy of the large intestine as it is a long flexible tube that contains a small camera and light, allowing a health professional to see inside the rectum and colon. The professional inserts the colonoscope inside the patient’s anus and moves it through the rectum and colon. The large intestine is inflated with air to help the gastroenterologist see the image more clearly. The endoscopy could show irritated tissues, ulcers and abnormal growths like polyps. After the disease has been diagnosed it could be treated with medications or surgery.

Medication cannot cure the disease, but it can reduce the symptoms. The medication would have to be provided perpetually as the disease will last a lifetime, however the medication that is provided will help reduce the pain and maintain remission. The medications that would be provided are either aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators or anti-TNF therapies. The intake of these treatments could depend on the location of the symptoms, as people may have to intake it by either enema, rectal foam, mouth, IV or suppository. The aminosalicylates are medications that help control inflammation and is commonly seen as the best long-term treatment for this disease as it has very few side effects and could be prescribed to almost anyone. Corticosteroids help decrease the activity of the body’s defence system, it is prescribed to people that have much more complex symptoms or to patients that do not respond to aminosalicylates.

The corticosteroids are not seen as great long-term treatment as it contains large amounts of side effects, some of them are acne, bone mass loss, hypertension or weight gain. Immunomodulators also reduce the body’s defence systems however they have to be taken for a longer time period for them to work on the patient. Side effects of taking immunomodulators include tiredness, nausea or pancreatitis. Biological medicines target a protein that is secreted by the immune system known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF). Anti-TNF therapies help bring a person to remission quickly, particularly people who do not respond to the other treatments. However anti-TNF medications could increase the chance of developing infections or skin cancers such as melanoma. Although there are many medications that reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, some people will choose to get their colon and rectum removed surgically.

There are two types of ways a patient could have their colon removed, either proctocolectomy and ileostomy or proctocolectomy and ileoanal reservoir. A proctocolectomy is a surgery that removes a person’s colon and rectum and an ileostomy is an opening in the abdomen that a surgeon creates through part of the ileum. The ileum is then attached to the skin and an ostomy pouch is attached to the opening in the ileum to allow intestinal contents to be collected outside of the body. The opening cannot control the flow of the contents as it doesn’t have any muscle, therefore the pouch is filled whenever peristalsis occurs. This surgery is not inconvenient as the pouch has to be emptied regularly. An ileoanal reservoir is a pouch that is placed inside the person’s body that is made from the persons ileum. The ileum is then connected to the anus where the intestinal contents is defecated as usual through the anus. This surgery could make a woman infertile, and people may develop pouchitis, which is an inflammation of the lining in the ileoanal reservoir. Pouchitis could develop into a chronic disease and may require long term treatment with antibiotics.

The symptoms of the disease could be reduced by avoiding certain foods or drinks like carbonated drinks, popcorn, nuts and foods high in fibre. Limiting portion size will also help reduce symptoms. Disease complications could include rectal bleeding as the intestinal lining is open and secretes blood, dehydration as the large intestine cannot absorb fluids efficiently due to inflammation, and osteoporosis as it is a side effect of the medication needed for ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is prone to develop into colon cancer if it affects the entire colon, the disease has been ongoing for over 8 years or the person also has another condition that affects the liver such as primary sclerosing cholangitis. A person who has ulcerative colitis may have problems with absorption of nutrients and defecation.

As a person with a fully functioning digestive system would usually break down the foods that we eat in the stomach and small intestine, and the nutrients would also be absorbed in the small intestine by the intestinal walls. The waste products of food absorption are then passed into the large intestine, where it then absorbs all the liquids and the left-over foods form stools. The stools are then moved from the large intestine to the rectum until they are excreted by bowel movements via the anus. However, if a person has ulcerative colitis then part of the large intestine and rectum is inflamed and sore. Ulcers develop on the intestinal lining and produce mucus or secrete blood. The inflamed large intestine is then unable to fully absorb all of the liquids, which means that stool will have a much waterier content. As the intestine cannot store a large amount of waste, the bowel movements will be more frequent, which will lead to a more painful and inflamed colon.

As mentioned, the large intestine will no longer be able to intake water efficiently, therefore there will be a water deficiency in the body, and it will be dehydrated. This can be treated by drinking more water so that there is a higher chance of water absorption by the colon. The ulcers that are present in the large intestine on the intestinal wall are giving away lots of blood, which will lead to an iron deficiency disorder known as anaemia as more iron will be needed to bind with haemoglobin and help the delivery of oxygen to the cells. To summarise, a person that has the chronic inflammatory bowel disease, is much more disadvantaged than a person whose digestive system functions normally as they are prone to getting a nutrient deficiency disorder easier than a person with a functioning digestive system as well as being constantly dehydrated and the person will have to follow a strict diet to get all of the necessary nutrients that are needed for the body to function normally.

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