Protein deficiency is a scourge in the under developed countries. Proteins are the building blocks of the body and a body deprived of protein is unable to function efficiently. The proteins supply the body with essential amino acids, which the body cannot manufacture on its own. Children are the affected the most as a healthy amount of protein is required for the growth and development of their mind and body. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million children suffer from protein deficiency and the mortality rate among them is as high as 40%. In third world countries, every year, thousands of people die, mostly children under five due to protein deficiency related diseases. In developed countries, there is a prevalence of protein deficiency, but very less. A protein rich diet can counter the effects of protein deficiency. Oily fish, meat, cheese, lentils, milk, eggs etc. a good source of protein. The right amount of protein intake is required on a regular basis. Find out information on various symptoms that occur due to protein deficiency.
Protein Deficiency Signs & Symptoms
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue point towards protein deficiency. The loss of energy results in a feeling of heaviness and excess of sleep. The decrease of energy level is perhaps the first indicator of protein deficiency.
- Nails tend to become brittle and there is an increase in the rate of hair fall. Also there is irregularity in bowel movements. There is severe loss of weight in case of drastic deficiency of proteins.
- Since proteins build and develop the muscles, the symptoms of protein deficiency can be gauged from the rapid weakening of the muscles. Muscles also act as the store house of proteins, so that in case of deficiency the body utilizes the protein from the muscles. Too much use of muscle protein makes the muscle flaccid, which is one of the visible signs that the body is experiencing protein deficiency. The muscles suffer from soreness and cramps.
- Persons with protein deficiency experiences dizziness and chest pain, accompanied by shortness of breath and fever. These are the initial symptoms of protein deficiency.
- The heart beat falls below the normal rate. The continuing deficiency of protein leads to low blood pressure.
- Fluids accumulate in the belly and legs. This condition is called edema. These fluids collect under the skin and may sometimes affect other parts of the body.
- Prolonged protein deficiency causes the skin to dry and break out rashes and ulcers. The skin gets more prone to sun burns and the healing capability of cuts and burns slows down.
- In children the growth and development of the body stops, since they require more proteins than adults to fuel their developing body. The children also develop a medical condition called kwashiorkor, in which along with all the other protein deficiency symptoms, they are also afflicted with a bloated liver due to the accumulation of fats.
- In severe case of protein deficiency the organs start to malfunction. The immune system loses the power to fight infections and the level of white blood cells goes down.
- The psychological symptoms of protein deficiency can manifest in depression, anxiety and crankiness. It also decreases the mental alertness.