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Deficiency Diseases: Causes, Symptoms and Types



What are Deficiency Diseases?

Deficiency diseases are one of the most common and neglected medical conditions worldwide. Poor intake of essential vitamins, minerals and other organic elements causes deficiency diseases. Unfortunately, the lack of proper awareness and healthy diet lead to the deficiency of these crucial components. leads

The most common deficiency diseases include deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin B12, and vitamin B9. Reports state that nearly 92% of Americans are suffering from vitamin deficiency. In India, approximately 75% of Indians are suffering from vitamin deficiencies. 

Approximately 80% Indians suffer from a deficiency of vitamin D, followed by vitamin B12 (21.02%) and B9 (15.06%). Moreover, 84% of pregnant women are deficient in vitamin D.

What do You Mean by Deficiency?

When your body does not receive adequate essential organic components like vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates, it fails to perform certain functions like average cell growth, division and stability. Due to a lack of essential organic components, this condition is called a deficiency. 

What is Deficiency Disease?

A deficiency of such essential organic components hampers your body's normal functions and promotes particular mild to severe medical conditions. These medical conditions are called deficiency diseases. 

A neglected deficiency may lead to permanent vision loss, heart disease and multi-organ failure. 

Types of Deficiency Diseases

Expert scientists and doctors have categorized deficiency diseases into four groups so far:

  • Vitamin Deficiency Diseases
  • Mineral Deficiency Diseases
  • Protein Deficiency Disease
  • Calorie Deficiency Disease

Vitamin Deficiency Diseases

The lack of vitamins in the human body causes vitamin deficiency diseases.

  1. Fat-soluble vitamin deficiency diseases: A, D, E and K
  2. Water-soluble vitamin deficiency diseases: B(B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9. B12) and C

Mineral Deficiency Diseases

Diseases caused by poor absorption of minerals are called mineral deficiency diseases. Minerals likeCalcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, sulphur, cobalt, copper, fluoride, manganese, and selenium are vital for your body.

Protein Deficiency Disease

Lack of protein intake causes protein deficiency diseases.

Calorie Deficiency Disease

A deficiency in adequate calorie intake leads to calorie deficiency disease.

What are the Prominent Deficiency Diseases, Causes and Symptoms?

Vitamin Deficiency Diseases

Disease: Night blindness and Keratomalacia

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin A or retinol.


  • Blurred vision
  • Bad skin
  • Poor night vision

Disease: BeriBeri

Cause: Deficiency in vitamin B1 or thiamin.


  • Weight loss
  • Impaired sensory perception
  • Pain in limbs
  • Weakness

Disease: Angular Cheilitis and Anaemia

Cause: Deficiency in vitamin B2 or riboflavin.


  • Inflammation at mouth corners
  • Chapped and cracked lips
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin

Disease: Pallagra

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin B3 or niacin.


  • Dementia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dermatitis

Disease: No significant conditions.

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid.


  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Apathy

Disease: Crohn's, Kidney diseases

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin B6


  • Microcytic anaemia depression
  • Dermatitis

Disease: Poor health

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin B7 or biotin.


  • Hair loss
  • Poor skin
  • Increased elimination of 3-hydroxy isovaleric acid through urine.

Disease: Poor neural tubes in children.

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin B9 or folate


  • Weakness
  • Irritation
  • Poor brain health

Disease: Megaloblastic anaemia, pernicious anaemia, methylmalonicanaemia

Cause: Deficiency in vitamin B12


  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue

Disease: Scurvy

Cause: Deficiency of vitamin C or ascorbic acid.


  • Bleeding gums
  • Swelling in joints
  • Skin spots

Disease: Rickets and Osteomalacia

Cause: Deficiency in vitamin D or calciferol


  • Tooth decay
  • Bone weakening
  • Weak joints

Disease: Weak body

Cause: Deficiency in vitamin E or tocopherol


  • Weak muscles
  • Neurological problems

Disease: Poor blood coagulation

Cause: Deficiency in vitamin K


  • Excessive bleeding gums
  • Bruising
  • Nose bleeding
  • Heavy menstruation flow

Mineral Deficiency Diseases:

Disease: Anaemia

Cause: Deficiency in iron


  • Pale skin
  • Weak body
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced red blood cells.

Disease: Goitre and Hypothyroidism

Cause: Iodine deficiency.


  • Constipation
  • Puffy face
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle pain

Disease: Hypocalcemia

Cause: Deficiency in Calcium


  • Alopecia
  • Brittle nails
  • Dry and rough skin and hair
  • Fatigue

Disease: Hypomagnesemia

Cause: Deficiency in magnesium


  • Vomiting
  • Numbness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tingling

Disease: Poor healing conditions

Cause: Deficiency in zinc


  • Poor healing
  • Lethargy
  • Weak immune system
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hair loss

Protein Deficiency Disease

Disease: Kwashiorkor


  • Swollen stomach
  • Apathy
  • Irritability

Calorie Deficiency Disease

Disease: Marasmus


  • Loss of muscle volume
  • Loss of hypodermic fat
  • Grow arrears

Risk Factors

The following points can be considered potential risk factors for deficiency diseases among the masses:

  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfed infants
  • Adolescents
  • Older adults
  • Poor diet
  • Addiction to alcohol and tobacco
  • Bowel problems
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Obesity
  • Premenopausal women

Diagnosis and Treatment


Deficiency diseases can be detected by:

  • Skin test
  • Blood test
  • Urine test


Treatment of deficiency diseases is carried out based on the deficiency of the detected component. Your doctor will prescribe supplements to keep your body healthy. 

What Should You Do at Home?

Follow this daily routine, and you may avoid deficiency diseases:

  • Visit a doctor at least once in two months.
  • Take your health reports to a nutritionist and get a personalized diet chart.
  • Eat at least one different fruit a day.
  • Take supplements if necessary.
  • Control your body weight.


Unfortunately, deficiency diseases are relatively common in all the countries in the world. Similarly, many of the Indian population suffer from different kinds of deficiency diseases. Please add easily-available vegetables and fruits to your daily food chart. 

Metropolis Healthcare is one of India's leading diagnostic centres. Visit your nearest Metropolis Healthcare Centre for any pathological test. They have a good reputation for satisfying their clients.

Some of the advantages of Metropolis Healthcare are as follows:

  • Latest testing apparatus
  • One-time sample collection
  • Special attention to every patient, especially children and infants.
  • Clean and sanitized labs
  • Optimum safety measures maintained by the professionals
  • An accurate and checked report in less than 24 hours

Final Takeaway

  • Follow the instructions of your doctor and nutritionist.
  • Maintain a balanced diet.
  • Try to eat one fruit a day.
  • Regular checkups, as said by your doctor.
  • Routine tests in Metropolis Healthcare as prescribed by the doctors

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