Pellagra is a nutritional disease caused by the deficiency of niacin. It is characterized clinically by four classic symptoms often referred to as the four Ds: diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death. Prior to the development of these symptoms, other nonspecific symptoms insidiously manifest and mostly affect the dermatological, neuropsychiatric, and gastrointestinal systems (Watch Pellagra Video to learn more).
Pellagra can be diagnosed if cutaneous symptoms resolve within 24-48 hours after oral niacin administration. Other factors, such as mycotoxins, excessive dietary leucine intake, estrogens and progestogens, carcinoid syndrome, and various medications, might also lead to the development of pellagra. There was a marked tendency for pellagra to recur year after year in the same individuals. This occurred mostly in the late spring and early summer. Peripheral neuritis has been reported in some pellagra cases and this could not be cured by niacin alone.
Pellagra dermatitis is characterized by a clear zone of demarcation between the affected and normal skin. The erythema is accompanied by burning and itching; scaling and exfoliation follow in the rims.. The affected skin is hyperpigmented. Pellagra is a multiple-deficiency disease. It is associated with diets providing low levels of niacin and/or tryptophan and often involving other B vitamins resulting in changes in the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system. The characteristic manifestations appear as dermatitis, diarrhoea and dementia and can lead to death. The mouth is sore and the tongue is brilliant or beef red in colour and swollen.
Useful for CBSE, ICSE, NCERT & International Students
Grade : 9
Subject : Biology
Lesson : Why Do We Fall Ill?
Topic: Pellagra Video
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