Deficiency Diseases

Medical personnel who work in affluent areas are unlikely to see large numbers of people with vitamin deficiency diseases. However, certain groups of the population are particularly at risk, such as low-income families and chronically ill patients. The classic symptoms of any vitamin deficiency disease as observed in laboratory animals are often blurred in humans. The clinical picture is often complicated by deficiencies of other vitamins, minerals, calories, and protein and by infections and parasite infestations, which usually accompany longstanding malnutrition. Biochemical, physiological, and behavioral changes can occur in the marginal deficiency state without or before the appearance of more specific symptoms. Since the nonspecificity of these changes makes them difficult to detail, this section focuses on the symptoms associated with individual vitamin deficiency diseases.

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