Kwashiorkor and Serious Protein Deficiency

07/12/2010 17:14

Proteins are one of the most vital substances required by the body to function properly. They constitute 75% of the body mass and are present in each and every part of the body right from hair, bones, skin, muscles and all other parts of the body. Proteins are the carriers of oxygen in the blood and energy source for all the chemical reactions in the body.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can depend on a number of additional factors. Severe protein deficiency can alter both, the form and the function of every organ in the body. How bad it becomes and how seriously its effects are felt can depend on prior nutritional status, nature of the disorder and the speed of its progression. There is no definitive criteria for determining the level of the deficiency.

Protein deficiencies are caused by one of two things: unhealthy eating habits and malnutrition. The majority of cases of protein deficiency are caused by not eating enough, or the right, protein-rich foods. But, there are some cases of patients who suffer from conditions known as congenital protein C or S deficiencies, which can cause unusual clotting of the blood.

These are called essential because the body absolutely has to have them, but can not produce them on its own. There are eight essential amino acids, and a lack of even one of these can cause a number of health issues, because without it, the other proteins in the body are not able to create it. The eight essential amino acids are lysine, leucine, valine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan.

The necessity of adequate nutrients has risen as our children seem to lack concentration nowadays. You may notice their poor performance and obtuse respond in school activities. Many child health problems are rooted in their basic diet which is normally full of junk and canned food. Since we give up for taste and overlook the nutritional value of a food, we tend to set examples for our kids who imitate our eating habits.

Food is one of the basic needs of people, but for the less fortunate ones they cannot afford even buying their own food, thus they suffered from starvation. According to statistics, over 500 million people in the Asia, Africa, and Latin America are living in absolute poverty; at the same time they are the ones who are hungry and begging for help.

The essential nutrients that the body requires are vitamins, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. In addition water and oxygen are required to sustain life and cannot be created adequately within the body, however most often than not they are not included in the list of essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are substances that enrich the body by building and repairing tissues, providing energy and heat and regulating metabolism.

Dietary fiber consists mainly of cellulose that is indigestible because we do not have enzymes to digest it. Dietary sources of protein include meats, eggs, grains, legumes, and dairy products such as milk and cheese. Dietary minerals are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen which are present in common organic molecules.

There are three types of fats: saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Saturated fats are the ones that are solid at room temperature including lard and butter as well as hydrogenated vegetable oil like the kind typically included in processed foods. Polyunsaturated fats are the vegetable oils like corn, safflower and sunflower oils.

Overnutrition is mainly the problem of adults and few adolescents especially the urban dwellers. It is a rapidly escalating public nutrition problem, principally reflecting shift in dietary patterns and more sedimentary lifestyles. The situation in Nigeria where economy favor a particular group than others, the poor gets poorer while the rich gets richer had brought about a higher percentage of overnutrition- Nigerian big man disease.

Maintaining good health is vital in our bodies. Without proper hygiene, we can develop various diseases in our bodies which can result to debts, poverty or even death. For instance, a child taking excessive carbohydrates will finally lead to kwashiorkor. If immediate action is not taken, the child could suffer from other diseases and end up creating more bills due to the high cost of treatment.

Protein is the most essential nutrient in the body that is commonly misunderstood. Every body part including our skin, muscles, hair, blood organs, eyes, fingernails and bones contain protein. It is used to build, maintain and repair body tissues. Excessive protein is converted into energy for immediate use. This conversion requires the body to strip the amino acids of their nitrogen atoms, creating nitrogen waste.

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