Functions of vitamin A on health
Vitamin A (retinol, retinal and four carotenoids including beta carotene) is a fat soluble vitamin. It performs many functions in the human body. It promotes growth and development of the body. It maintains the immune system. It is very important for healthy eyes.
Medical conditions caused by vitamin A deficiency
Deficiency of vitamin A causes impaired vision, particularly in reduced light. This condition is commonly known as night blindness. Hyperkeratosis, thickening of the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis) is another condition caused by vitamin A deficiency. You notice white lumps at hair follicles. Deficiency of vitamin A also causes keratomalacia, an eye disorder.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is essential for normal vision, as well as proper bone growth, healthy skin, and protection of the mucous membranes of the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts against infection. People with long-term mal-absorption of fats are very susceptible to developing a Vitamin A deficiency.
The most common health concerns that will cause malabsorption of vitamin A include gluten sensitivity issues, a leaky gut syndrome and auto immune responses, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatic disorders. Alcoholics, whose excess toxicity creates low vitamin A levels, are also at a much higher risk fr deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency has become a public health problem in more than half of all countries, especially in Africa and South-East Asia, especially affecting young children and pregnant women in low-income countries.
This can be a serious problem for children because the lack of vitamin A causes severe visual impairment and blindness; it also increases the risk of severe illness, and even death, significantly. Children may be in harm’s way from such common childhood infections as diarrhoeal disease and measles.
Poor Eye Health
A Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a thickening of the cornea and eventually even to blindness. Keratomalacia, a condition that comes from severe deficiency of vitamin A, is a condition that is bilateral, meaning it usually affects both eyes.
This type of deficiency may be dietary, meaning your daily intake of the vitamin, or metabolic, meaning your body’s ability to absorb it. Early symptoms of Keratomalacia may include night blindness and extreme dryness of the eyes.
Your eyesight may be followed by wrinkling, cloudiness, and a softening of the corneas. If the corneas continue to soften, without adequate attention and treatment, this may lead to infected corneas, a rupture, or degenerative tissue changes- all can cause blindness.
Premature Skin Damage
Vitamin A deficiency will lead to the drying, scaling, and follicular thickening of the skin. Keratinization of the skin, when the epithelial cells lose their moisture and become hard and dry, can occur in the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary tract.
Respiratory infections can occur because the body’s immunity is impaired by the lack of vitamin A. The younger the patient, the more severe the effects can be. Growth retardation and infections are common among children, and the mortality rate can reportedly exceed 50% in children with severe vitamin A deficiency.
At Risk Pregnancy
For pregnant women, the vitamin A demand is the highest during the last trimester; most often, women suffer from vitamin A deficiencies during this time. A pregnant woman can suffer from night blindness if her vitamin A intake is not sufficient
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