7 major nutritional diseases | Causes, symptoms and Treatment

What happens when your body doesn't get enough nutrients?

The nutrient is the food or elements or any substance that supplies the body with elements, necessary for metabolism. All organisms need nutrients for the maintenance of life. The deficiency of these substances or elements causes many nutritional diseases in human beings. These diseases are discussed below with their symptoms, causes, and their treatments.

7 Nutritional DiseasesList of 7 major Nutritional Diseases

  1. Dyspepsia
  2. Food Poisoning
  3. Obesity
  4. Anorexia Nervosa
  5. Bulimia Nervosa
  6. Piles or Hemorrhoids
  7. Ulcer

1. Dyspepsia

Incomplete or imperfect digestion is called dyspepsia. This is not the disease itself. It is a symptom of other disorders or diseases.


Its symptoms are abdominal discomfort, flatulence, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms may occur irregularly. Their pattern is also different from time to time.

Causes of the Disease:

  • Dyspepsia may occur due to excessive acidity in the stomach.
  • It is also caused by the faulty function of the stomach and intestine.
  • It is also caused due to insufficient quality or quantity of bile separations.

2. Food Poisoning

The illness from indigestion of food containing toxic substances is called food poisoning.


The symptoms of food poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These symptoms occur from 12-24 hours after eating food.

Causes of Disease:

There are the following causes of food poisoning:

  1. The bacteria Salmonella and Campylobacter are the common causes of food poisoning. These bacteria produce a toxin that causes the disease. These bacteria live in the intestines of cattle, chickens, and ducks. They do not cause any disease in these animals. Humans can develop food poisoning if they drink milk; or eat meat or eggs contaminated with these bacteria. Unpasteurized milk and improperly cooked meat can increase the chance of infection.

A liquid comes out from the defrosting frozen meat. This liquid contains salmonella bacteria. The dishes and other utensils must not be allowed to come in contact with meat during deforestation.

  1. Botulism

It is a severe form of food poison. It is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. Botulism is developed by improperly canned or preserved meat. The toxins produced by these bacteria are very powerful. It has selective action on the central nervous system.

It can cause respiratory or cardiac paralysis. The early symptoms of this disease are fatigue, dizziness, double vision, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

3. Obesity

It is the condition in which a person has an abnormal amount of fat in the body.


If a person eats more than his body’s requirement, the surplus food is stored as fat. So, he/she becomes overweight or obese. These fats are stored in the adipose tissues in the abdomen, around the kidney, and under the skin.

Formation of Adipose Tissues:

Certain cells accumulate drops of fats in their cytoplasm. These crops keep on increasing in size and number. These fat drops join together to form one large globule of fat in the middle of the cells. It pushes the nucleus to one side and the cytoplasm forms a thin layer. Groups of fat cells form adipose tissue.

Some people eat too much but do not become fat. Some people become fat when they take a small amount of excess food than their requirement. So, obesity is a hereditary characteristic. It depends on the balance of certain hormones.

Effects of Obesity:

An obese person can suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and stomach disorders.

4. Anorexia Nervosa

The loss of appetite due to the fear of becoming obese is called anorexia nervosa. Such a feeling is common in human females of age 12 to 21. Such persons can lose weight to a dangerous level. But, their fear of becoming obese does not diminish.

If such a person refuses to eat, he/she is required psychiatric therapy. Patients with this condition can do telehealth psychiatric therapy, where counseling services are provided remotely by telemedicine psychiatrist using telecommunications technology.

This approach allows patients to receive psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis, medication management, therapy, and other mental health services from the comfort of their own homes or other convenient locations.

Effects of Anorexia on Girls:

Anorexia usually affects girls just after the start of puberty. The anorexic girl; overestimates the size of her own body. She believes her to be overweight. While in reality, her weight has reduced to a dangerous level. These girls are often immature psychologically.

They are unable to face the challenges of puberty and sexual desires. She loses feminine characteristics. She returns back to a child-like state. So, she feels safe.


Psychiatric therapy is usually required to treat anorexia. Such patients are given food intramuscularly or intravenously (with injections and drips). The recovery is slow. It may take 2-4 years and in some cases even longer.

5. Bulimia Nervosa

It is a neurotic (nervous) disorder in slightly older girls. It is characterized by bouts of overeating or fattening food like fried food, cream, and cakes. This overeating is followed by self-induced vomiting, fasting, or purgatives.

Effects on the Body:

The frequent vomiting and purging may cause physical effects. It may cause serum electrolyte imbalance and frequent infections.


There may be prolonged treatment of bulimia. The initial treatments are to control the effects of weight loss and malnutrition. It is necessary to undertake treatment in hospitals under the strict supervision of doctors.

6. Piles or Hemorrhoids

Piles are masses of dilated, tortuous veins in the anorectal mucosa (mucous membrane of the rectum and anus). Sometimes, these masses of veins start bleeding during bowel (rectum) movements. The situation becomes complicated when the patients also suffer from constipation.

The urge to defecate is depressed and it becomes difficult to expel the feces. There can be physical distension (swelling) of the rectum. This distension of the rectum may cause other symptoms of ill health.


There should be an improvement in the hygienic conditions. Food softeners like roughage (fibrous food) and laxative should be used. The patient should not have to sit on hard seats. Sometimes, piles have to be removed surgically.

7. Ulcer

The inner wall of the digestive tract is covered with mucous. Mucous protects the inner membrane from the action of enzymes. If the mucous layer is broken, the digestive enzymes start eating the wall of the stomach and duodenum. This results in a sore called ulcer.

In some cases, the ulcer is so severe that a hole develops in the wall of the digestive tract. So, the content of the digestive tract comes out into the abdominal cavity. It causes severe infection. If immediate medical care is not given, it may prove to be fatal. Excess gastric acid secretion is an important factor in peptic ulcers.


Patients with ulcers should avoid smoking, spicy food, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and stress.

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