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One of the essential minerals needed for the development of children and adults alike is zinc. The mineral helps in fighting off infections and also helps in the production of cells in the body. It boosts the body's immunity and helps to heal wounds faster. At the same time, it helps create DNA strands in the body. Zinc is also essential for pregnant women. Zinc is one of an essential requirement when it comes to maintenance of a healthy immune system. An average adult should consume at least 8-11 mg of zinc per day. The mineral is available in various foods such as red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and some seafood. On the flip side, zinc deficiency can have detrimental effects on your health and quality of life.

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Loss of appetite

The loss of appetite is one of the classical signs of the deficiency. This is a fact that less zinc in the body results in digestive problems. It reduces the metabolism to a great extent. Therefore, the body feels a lesser need to eat something, and as a result, the patient will not eat anything.

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Loss of weight

As the loss of appetite is a result of zinc deficiency, the patient is bound to have a loss weight. The body has to compensate for the lack of glucose in the body. If the patient does not eat anything as a result of the loss of appetite, it tends to have loss of weight. Therefore, when zinc deficiency is not diagnosed, these two signs happen to exist.

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Slow healing of wounds

As mentioned above, one of the functions of zinc is that it helps with the immunity system of the body. It takes part in the healing of wounds. So if one of the minerals needs to heal wounds faster is in low supply, the healing of wounds gets affected. This sign is one which a patient might never see on its own. For this, there has to be an injury first for them to notice the slow healing of the wound. But it is one that is widely used to help with diagnosing zinc deficiency.

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Immune system impairment

The impaired immune system is a sign that patients notice when they have the zinc deficiency. It will result in easy infections. Recent reports suggest that levels of zinc in the body can boost the immunity system. It helps to fight off common colds so that any zinc defect will cause problems. Patients might encounter problems with infections in the body such as pneumonia. The gastrointestinal, respiratory systems are mostly affected in these cases.

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Delayed sexual maturation

One of the main functions of zinc in man is the production of testosterone. Zinc is essential in the production of testosterone. So if it is in short supply, there is a shortage of circulating testosterone in the body. Children who have reached the puberty need testosterone for maturation of sexual organs. In adults, testosterone is essential to secrete functional sperm. So, if this hormone is not produced as a result of zinc deficiency, it might result in Hypogonadism. You may also suffer from delayed sexual maturation.

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Stunted growth

As mentioned above, one of the functions of zinc is cell production. That means if it is in lesser quantities in the body, there is less production of cells. These are vital for the growth of people. Zinc deficiency causes stunted growth in at least 1/3 of the world's population. For one mineral to cause such a massive defect in the world is astonishing. Stunted growth is another classical sign of zinc deficiency. It is a must for differential diagnosis of various other diseases.

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Infection of skin and nails

In some cases, zinc deficiency can manifest itself as acne on the patient's face, xerosis or seborrheic dermatitis. These are signs which attribute to other pathologies but can also be as a result of zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency is also known to affect the patient's nails. But, not much has stated about how nails affect in this regard. At best if you see any unfamiliar changes to your nails, it is best to go straight to your doctor and get it checked.

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Alopecia

One of the main signs of zinc deficiency is alopecia. This is the unexplainable, abnormal and irregular hair loss for patients. Many theories can better explain how a patient with zinc deficiency can lose their hair. But none have been satisfactory to date. But, doctors use the sign to help give a quicker diagnosis if need be. The loss of hair in patients is usually accompanied with the affection of the skin and nails. These signs usually go with each other, which is a useful marker.

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Loss of vision, smell, and taste

In some cases, severe zinc deficiency has been seen to affect the sense of smell and taste in patients. In some other cases, patients are suffering from night blindness. It leads to vision loss gradually if left untreated. In some cases, night blindness might occur due to other nutritional deficiencies. These are vitamin A, D, and C. So, the affection of senses might not confine to deficiency of zinc alone. It would be better to visit a doctor who would be better equipped to make a better diagnosis.

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Diarrhea

The infection of the gastrointestinal system caused by zinc deficiency may lead to diarrhea. Patients who have zinc deficiency cannot digest their food. This might lead to food going to the rectum for excretion. In such cases, it is best for the patient to understand the problem better and get zinc supplements. It helps digestion of food.

Other notable signs of zinc deficiency even though are non-specific. These include psychological disorders, mouth ulcers, and behavioral abnormalities. These are irritability and lethargy.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.