Definitions for vitamin a deficiency
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Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is a lack of vitamin A in humans. It is common in poorer countries but rarely seen in more developed countries that are wealthier. Night blindness is one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency. Xerophthalmia, keratomalacia, and complete blindness can also occur since Vitamin A has a major role in phototransduction. Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children in the developing world go blind each year from a deficiency of vitamin A, approximately half of whom die within a year of becoming blind. The United Nations Special Session on Children in 2002 set the elimination of vitamin A deficiency by 2010. The prevalence of night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is also high among pregnant women in many developing countries. Vitamin A deficiency also contributes to maternal mortality and other poor outcomes in pregnancy and lactation. Vitamin A deficiency also diminishes the ability to fight infections. In countries where children are not immunized, infectious disease like measles have higher fatality rates. As elucidated by Dr. Alfred Sommer, even mild, subclinical deficiency can also be a problem, as it may increase children's risk of developing respiratory and diarrheal infections, decrease growth rate, slow bone development, and decrease likelihood of survival from serious illness.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Vitamin A Deficiency
A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of VITAMIN A in the diet, characterized by NIGHT BLINDNESS and other ocular manifestations such as dryness of the conjunctiva and later of the cornea (XEROPHTHALMIA). Vitamin A deficiency is a very common problem worldwide, particularly in developing countries as a consequence of famine or shortages of vitamin A-rich foods. In the United States it is found among the urban poor, the elderly, alcoholics, and patients with malabsorption. (From Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p1179)
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