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Vitamin Deficiency: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

When a person has deficiency of one or more than one vitamin/s, he/she suffers from vitamin deficiency or avitaminosis. Avitaminosis can cause severe long-term damage to a person’s health if left untreated. The symptoms of the condition depend on which vitamin or vitamins is/are missing. For this reason, doctors find it difficult to diagnose avitaminosis. More often than not, avitaminosis occurs due to lack of the Vitamin B1 or several other useful elements. Some of the factors that can lead to vitamin deficiency in a person are: abnormal functioning of digestive tract, unhealthy diet, faulty metabolism, heart, liver or kidney disease, genetics, old age and child bearing and breast feeding for women.

The symptoms of vitamin deficiency will depend on which vitamin/s is/are missing. However, the general symptoms of avitaminosis are weakness or fatigue, abnormal functioning of the musculoskeletal system, improper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, vision problems, skin problems, sleep disorder and mood swings. However, majority of the people who suffer from avitaminosis exhibit some form of spots on their hands.

The treatment of avitaminosis depends on diagnosing which set of vitamins are deficient in the patient’s body. A person cannot just randomly go to the drugstore and buy vitamins and consume them at his/her own free will. This will only aggravate the condition. A person suffering from vitamin deficiency will have to take the advice of the immunologist, therapist or pediatrician in case of children to chalk out the proper treatment plan.

How is the treatment done?

There are different forms of this condition. Avitaminosis is generally due to the deficiencies of Vitamin B1, E and A. On the other hand, the complete absence of all the necessary vitamins from a human body is termed hypovitaminosis. Hypovitaminosis can cause serious problems and it can even interfere with the physical and psychological development of a child if he/she is affected by it.

When a person suffers from deficiencies of Vitamin A, D, E and B1, he/she is suffering from spring avitaminosis. Winter avitaminosis can occur due to: malnutrition, long use of a particular medication, lack of vitamins, mostly E and B1, digestive problems and as a consequence of long-term treatment. Children and winter people are the most affected by winter avitaminosis. Avitaminosis in children can occur due to a wide range of reasons.

The treatment of avitaminosis requires a person to intake those vitamins that are deficient in his body. Supplements can be used to overcome this problem but changes in diet are also the need of the hour. The first step that a person suffering from avitaminosis can take is: taking multivitamins twice a year. This is because the body immunity is weakest during spring and autumn. A person can take multivitamins during this period so that he/she receives healthy doses of all the essential vitamins. Secondly, a person is required to take specialized supplements to overcome the deficiencies of some vitamins that are not readily available. Vitamin D is not available in normal food sources and hence, a person needs specialized supplements to overcome its deficiency. Finally, a well-balance diet will surely keep the risks of developing avitaminosis at bay.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

No laboratory or clinical studies are required to understand whether a person is eligible for treatment or not. A person suffering from some or all of the general symptoms associated with vitamin deficiency is eligible for treatment. The symptoms are: vision problems, weakness and fatigue, sleep disorders, mood swings, improper functioning of musculoskeletal system and the gastrointestinal tract and skin problems. A therapist or immunologist will personally examine a patient and then determine whether or not he/she is eligible for treatment of avitaminosis.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A person who has not experienced any of the symptoms of vitamin deficiency is not eligible for the treatment. A person becomes eligible only after he has been thoroughly checked and diagnosed by a physician. However, supplements for Vitamin D should be taken by people after consulting the doctor. People with some other serious illness, and who take medications for it, may not be eligible to take supplements.

Are there any side effects?

Many multi-vitamin products contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. These may cause some side-effects like increased urination, teeth straining, uneven heart rate, confusion, muscle weakness and uneven heart rate. Supplements of Vitamin D has a number of side-effects such as elevated blood levels, high levels of calcium in blood, nausea, vomiting and poor appetite, loss of bones, problems of kidney and gastric troubles including constipation and diarrhea.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

the treatment for Vitamin C involves replenishing the vitamins that are not found in a patient’s body. Multivitamin tablets and specialized supplements help to normalize this anomaly. There are no such post-treatment guidelines excepting the fact that a person will have to maintain a balanced lifestyle and incorporate a healthy diet. This will help him to get all the essential nutrients.

How long does it take to recover?

Multivitamin tablets that help a person to receive the essential vitamins that he/she has been deficient in help to address the symptoms associated with avitaminosis. However, they may take a long time to work and the time for recovery depends on the patient and also on how serious his/her condition is. Supplements to replenish Vitamin D may also take some time to work and it actually depends on the constitution of the patient and the severity of the condition. However, in mild cases of avitaminosis, a patient does not require much time to recover.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

A month’s supply of multivitamin tablets can cost somewhere between Rs 250 to Rs 1650. The cost of Vitamin D supplements can cost between Rs 360- Rs 6440.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Vitamin deficiency is generally addressed with the help of multi-vitamin tablets and some supplements when the vitamin is not readily available in everyday food. However, these medications help to restore the balance of vitamins that should be optimally present in a human body. However, a person may again suffer from avitaminosis due to an unhealthy lifestyle and also due to some other medical condition. Hence, the results are not permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Consumption of green plants which are rich in vitamins and minerals help to keep avitaminosis at bay. The mineral salts and trace elements in plants and ginseng also help to fight avitaminosis.

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