A nutrient is the food or elements or any substance that supplies the body with elements, necessary for metabolism. All 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.
Incomplete or imperfect digestion is called dyspepsia. This is not the disease itself. It is a symptom of other disorders or diseases.
Its symptoms are abdominal discomfort, flatulence, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms may occur irregularly. Their pattern is also different from time to time.
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.
There are the following causes of food poisoning:
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 deforestation.
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 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.
It is the condition in which a person has an abnormal amount of fat in the body.
If a person eats more than his body’s requirement, the surplus food is stored as fat. So, he/she becomes overweight or obese. These fats are stored in the adipose tissues in the abdomen, around the kidney, and under the skin.
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 the cytoplasm forms a thin layer. Groups of fat cells form adipose tissue.
Some people eat too much but do not become fat. Some people become fat when they take a small amount of excess food than their requirement. So, obesity is a hereditary characteristic. It depends on the balance of certain hormones.
An obese person can suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and stomach disorder.
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 a person refuses to eat, he/she is required psychiatric therapy.
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 a child-like state. So, she feels 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 take 2-4 years and in some cases even longer.
It is a neurotic (nervous) disorder in slightly older girls. It is characterized by a bout of overeating or fattening food like fried food, cream, and cakes. This overeating is followed by self-induced vomiting, fasting, or purgatives.
The frequent vomiting and purging may cause physical effects. It may cause serum electrolyte imbalance and frequent infections.
There may be the prolonged treatment of bulimia. The initial treatments are to control the effects of weight loss and malnutrition. It is necessary to undertake treatment in hospitals under the strict supervision of doctors.
Piles are masses of dilated, tortuous veins in the anorectal mucosa (mucous membrane of the rectum and anus). Sometimes, these masses of veins start bleeding during bowel (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 the rectum. This distension of the rectum may cause other symptoms of ill health.
There should be an 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.
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 the 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 comes out into the abdominal cavity. It causes severe infection. If immediate medical care is not given, it may prove to be fatal. Excess gastric acid secretion is an important factor in peptic ulcers.
Patients with ulcers should avoid smoking, spicy food, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and stress.
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