Implications of Protein Deficiency

Implications of Protein Deficiency

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Implications of Protein Deficiency

When a person has deficiency of protein in their diet, they can become
victims of protein energy malnutrition. The malnutrition of protein
has many health effects. There are two types of protein energy
malnutrition, the first type is acute protein energy malnutrition,
children who are recently deprived of food, the effect of it is
characterised in children by thinness for their height. The second
type is chronic protein energy malnutrition, this occurs in children
due to long term deprivation of food and as a result the child’s
height is affected. Protein energy malnutrition can be further
classified into marasmus and kwashiorkor. These diseases are
specifically related protein deficiency.

Marasmus is caused by severe deprivation of protein and energy due to
long term lack of food intake. The disease results of the wasting of
muscles and heart, therefore the body becomes very weak. The lack of
protein intake has an impact on body weight; the victim suffering from
marasmus will have little or no fat under the skin to insulate from
cold as a result the body becomes vulnerable to infections. The
disease most commonly strikes in children of 16-18 months. However, in
the UK there is a high number of teenagers who suffer from anorexia
nervosa, as a result they also suffer from marasmus due to lack of
protein intake, the sufferer has a physical appearance of just skin
and bones. The internal body functioning is disrupted, the basal
metabolic rate slows down, the heart begins to pump in an irregular
rhythm, and supply blood inefficiently, the heart muscle becomes thin
and blood pressure falls. Other clinical features that are apparent
are dry skin and thinning of hair and it is easily pulled out. The
gastrointestinal tract (the digestive tract) becomes deteriorated;
therefore food, which is taken into the body, is rejected due to the
failure of gastrointestinal providing sufficient digestive enzymes to
absorb the food. Moreover the production of digestive enzyme in the
pancreas starts to decline, the victim suffers from diarrhoea.

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Anorexia nervosa can be overcome through treatment. Physicians and
other team members get together to resolve the client’s weight, eating
ability, relations with family and understanding ones body’s need.
Those that start eating foods in small amounts become comfortable and
eventually recover. However those that are high at risk of death
require hospitalization and are fed through tubes until an improvement
in recovery is evident. Clients that are at intermediate risk require
supplements addition to regular meals. In cases such as seeking
treatment the outcome is not always optimistic, 50% of women that are
treated recover and are able to maintain their health, the other
percentage fall back on relapse of abnormal eating.

Deficiency of protein leads to the victim being vulnerable to
infections, blood proteins such as haemoglobin are no longer
synthesised therefore the victim becomes anaemic and weak. Antibodies
that help fight bacteria in the body are unable to do so as the amino
acid is used for other uses in the body. Heart failure can result when
combination of infections, fever and body fluid imbalances occur.
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