7 major nutritional diseases | Causes, symptoms and Treatment

What happens when your body doesn't get enough nutrients?


The nutrient is the food or elements or any substance that supplies the body elements, necessary for metabolism. All the organisms need nutrients for the maintenance of life. The deficiency of these substances or elements causes many nutritional diseases in human beings. These diseases are discussed below with their symptoms, causes and their treatments.

7 Nutritional DiseasesList of 7 major Nutritional Diseases

  1. Dyspepsia
  2. Food Poisoning
  3. Obesity
  4. Anorexia Nervosa
  5. Bulimia Nervosa
  6. Piles or Hemorrhoids
  7. Ulcer

1.     Dyspepsia

Incomplete or imperfect digestion is called dyspepsia. This is not disease itself. It is a symptom of the other disorders or diseases.



Its symptoms are abdominal discomfort, flatulence, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms may occur irregularly. There pattern is also different from time to time.

Causes of the Disease:

  • Dyspepsia may occur due to excessive acidity in stomach.
  • It is also caused by faulty function of stomach and intestine.
  • It is also caused due to insufficient quality or quantity of bile separations.

2.     Food Poisoning

The illness from indigestion of food containing toxic substances is called food poisoning.



The symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. These symptoms occur from 12-24 hours after eating food.

Causes of Disease:

There are following causes of the food poisoning:

  1. The bacteria Salmonella and Campylobacter are the common causes of food poisoning. These bacteria produce toxin which causes the disease. These bacteria live in the intestine of the cattle, chicken and duck. They do not cause any disease in these animals. Humans can develop food poisoning if they drink milk; eat meat or egg contaminated with these bacteria. The unpasteurized milk and improperly cooked meat can increase the chance of infection.

A liquid comes out from the defrosting frozen meat. This liquid contains salmonella bacteria. The dishes and other utensils must not be allowed to come in contact with meat during deforesting.

  1. Botulism

It is a severe form of food poison. It is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. Botulism is developed by improperly canned or preserved like meat. The toxins produced by these bacteria are very powerful. It has selective action on the central nervous system.

It can cause respiratory or cardiac paralysis. The early symptoms of this disease are fatigue, dizziness, double vision, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

3.     Obesity

It is the condition in which a person has abnormal amount of fat on the body.


If a person eat more than his body requirement, the surplus food is stored as fat. So, he/she becomes overweight or obese. These fats are stored in the adipose tissues in abdomen, around the kidney and under the skin.

Formation of Adipose Tissues:

Certain cells accumulate drops of fats in their cytoplasm. These crops keep on increasing in size and number. These fat drops join together to form one large globule of fat in the middle of the cells. It pushes the nucleus to one side and cytoplasm forms a thin layer. Groups of fat cells form adipose tissue.

Some people eat too much but do not become fat. Some persons become fat when they take a small amount of excess food then their requirement. So, the obesity is a hereditary character. It depends on balance of certain hormones.

Effects of Obesity:

An obese person can suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes mellitus and stomach disorder.


4.     Anorexia Nervosa

The loss of appetite due to the fear of becoming obese is called anorexia nervosa. Such a feeling is common in human females of age 12 to 21. Such persons can lose weight to a dangerous level. But, their fear of becoming obese does not diminish. If such person refuses to eat, he/she is required psychiatric therapy.

Effects of Anorexia on Girls:

Anorexia usually affects girls just after the start of puberty. The anorexic girl; over estimates the size of her own body. She believes her to be overweight. While in reality, her weight has reduced to a dangerous level. These girls are often immature psychologically.

They are unable to face the challenges of puberty and sexual desires. She loses feminine characteristics. She returns back to child-like state. So, she feels herself safe.



Psychiatric therapy is usually required to treat anorexia. Such patients are given food intramuscularly or intravenously (with injections and drips). The recovery is slow. It may takes 2-4 years and in some cases even longer.

5.     Bulimia Nervosa

It is a neurotic (nervous) disorder in slightly older girls. It is characterized by bout of overeating of fattening food like fried food, cream and cakes. This over eating is followed by self-induced vomiting, fasting or purgatives.

Effects on the Body:

The frequent vomiting and purging may causes physical effects. It may cause serum electrolyte imbalance and frequent infections.



There may be prolonged treatment of the bulimia. The initial treatments are to control the effects of weight loss and malnutrition. It is necessary to undertake the treatment in hospitals under strict supervision of the doctors.

6.     Piles or Hemorrhoids

Piles are masses of dilated, tortuous veins in the anorectal mucosa (mucous membrane of rectum and anus). Sometimes, these masses of veins start bleeding during bowl (rectum) movements. The situation becomes complicated when the patients also suffer from constipation.

The urge to defecate is depressed and it becomes difficult to expel the feces. There can be physical distension (swelling) of rectum. This distension of rectum may cause other symptoms of ill health.


There should be improvement in the hygienic conditions. Food softeners like roughage (fibrous food) and laxative should be used. The patient should not have to sit on hard seats. Sometimes, piles have to be removed surgically.


7.     Ulcer

The inner wall of the digestive tract is covered with mucous. Mucous protects the inner membrane from the action of enzymes. If the mucous layer is broken, the digestive enzymes start eating the wall of stomach and duodenum. This results in a sore called ulcer.

In some cases, the ulcer is so severe that a hole develops in the wall of the digestive tract. So, the content of the digestive tract come out into the abdominal cavity. It causes severe infection. If immediate medical care is not given, it may prove to be a fatal. Excess gastric acid secretion is an important factor of the peptic ulcer.


The patients of ulcer should avoid from smoking, spicy food, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea and stress.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button