These days, frank malnutrition is uncommon as most of us consume adequate food. However, poor dietary choices can still result in certain nutritional deficiencies. These nutritional deficiencies are quite difficult to identify as they are mostly sub-clinical, meaning that they do not present with symptoms. For example, one is not like to meet someone living with severe vitamin C deficiency and scurvy. However, mild vitamin C deficiency is not all that uncommon.
For example, sub-clinical vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses. In addition, these low-level nutritional deficiencies cause low-grade inflammation and considerably increase the risk of different chronic ailments.
So, how can one investigate further to highlight potential nutritional deficiencies? The best way to learn is to have a nutritional screening in which doctors would check the levels of various vitamins, cholesterol, and more. They would pay particular attention to the most common deficiencies like vitamin D, iron, and B12. Fortunately, most of these nutritional deficiencies once identified, are easily treatable with minor supplements.
If you have noticed certain symptoms e.g. fatigue, reduced concentration, thinning of hair, brittle nails, increasing muscle cramps, hand and feet numbness, bone or joint pains, and certain changes in mood, it may be useful to get in touch with our doctors to organize nutritional screening.
Iron deficiency anaemia
Iron deficiency is common and it leads to the most common type of anaemia called Iron Deficiency Anaemia.
Anaemia occurs when there are low haemoglobin levels in your body and this means that red blood cells cannot carry sufficient oxygen to our various organs which can result in symptoms such as fatigue, wasting, weakness, pale skin, headaches, chest pain, brittle nails, and more.
Fortunately, iron deficiency is readily identified clinically and through lab tests and is also readily treated. There are various types of treatments for iron deficiency anaemia including oral iron treatments, IV iron treatments and more. Depending on the severity of your anaemia, and how quickly you would like to correct the anaemia, our physicians can customize the treatment program for you.
Often, certain clinics may just choose to treat the iron deficiency anaemia but at Hisential, our doctors first focus on the cause of the iron deficiency. In some cases, it could be gastrointestinal issues and thus failure to absorb iron. In most cases, iron supplements may help. However, if the deficiency is due to the body’s inability to absorb iron, doctors may need to tweak the management to address the root causes.
Iron deficiency often coexists with other nutritional deficiencies like vitamin C, folate, vitamin B12, and more.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Its deficiency is quite common, especially in Asian nations. The reason is simple; there are very few vitamin-B12-rich foods. It is almost absent in plant-based foods. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal-based foods, especially in the organ meat.
Additionally, some people fail to absorb vitamin B12 in sufficient amounts, like those living with atrophic gastritis, pernicious anaemia, and conditions that affect intestinal health like inflammatory bowel disease, alcohol misuse, immune system disorders and more. Even some medications may cause its deficiency.
Vitamin deficiency causes chronic fatigue, weakness, pale skin, smooth tongue, gastrointestinal issues, nerve problems, mental health issues like poor memory and even depression.
Our specialists can readily identify vitamin B12 deficiency with the help of blood tests and also through clinical examination.
Once identified, it may be treated through dietary measures, vitamin B12 supplements, and in some cases, injectables.
Vitamin D deficiency
The deficiency of this sunshine vitamin is widespread in tropical nations. The reason is simple, people living in hot climate zones like Malaysia or Gulf countries avoid sun exposure.
Modern research shows that vitamin D plays an important role in many body functions. For example, it is essential for healthy bones and muscles, the production of various hormones, immune function, and lowering the risk of metabolic disorders, systemic inflammation, and even heart diseases.
One can get sufficient vitamin D even by exposing the body to the morning sun. However, that may not be possible in many cases. Thus, in such cases, doctors can recommend vitamin D supplements after understanding its severity.
Here it is vital to understand that one should only use vitamin D supplements after consulting healthcare specialists, as excessive vitamin D intake may cause specific side effects.