Numerous diseases are associated with vitamin deficiency. According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, micronutrient deficiencies, including vitamin deficiencies, can affect anybody, although young children and pregnant women in certain developing nations are more commonly affected than others. Vitamin deficiency may be caused by an unhealthy diet, starvation or certain medical conditions that make absorbing nutrients difficult. Symptoms associated with vitamin deficiency diseases vary based on the disease and its severity.
Pellagra, also is known as vitamin B-3 deficiency. According to the MedlinePlus website, pellagra occurs when a person fails to get sufficient amounts of niacin, or vitamin B3, or tryptophan. Tryptophan is one of 20 standard amino acids. Niacin is a water-soluble B vitamin that assists the digestive system, skin and nerves. The most common cause of pellagra is insufficient amounts of niacin or tryptophan in the diet. This condition also occurs when a person's body fails to absorb these nutrients, or following certain gastrointestinal diseases or alcoholism. The MedlinePlus website states that pellagra usually manifests in populations that consume large amounts of corn or maize. Common signs and symptoms associated with pellagra include delusions, diarrhea, inflamed mucus membranes, mental confusion and scaly sores on a person's skin.
Beriberi is caused by a lack of thiamine, or vitamin B-1. The University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, states that beriberi is an uncommon condition among Americans, as most foods consumed in America are enriched with vitamins. According to the UMMC, if a person eats a healthy diet, she should get enough thiamine. In the United States, beriberi is most commonly seen among alcoholics or people who abuse alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can result in poor nutrition, and it makes it harder for a person's body to absorb and store thiamine. Common symptoms associated with beriberi include difficulty walking, decreased sensation in the hands and feet, decreased muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs, mental confusion, difficulty with speech, pain, rapid eye movements, vomiting, shortness of breath during exertion, increased heart rate and lower leg swelling.
Rickets is a childhood disease that is associated with a vitamin deficiency. According to the Family Doctor website, rickets is a disorder that affects a child's bones, causing them to become soft and fracture easily. Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D, although heredity can also play a role in this disease. Vitamin D is important because it helps a person's bones absorb calcium and phosphorus from food. Common symptoms of rickets include delayed growth, pain in the vertebrae or spinal bones, pelvis and legs, muscle weakness, cavities and problems with teeth structure. The Family Doctor website states that treatment for rickets depends on the type of rickets a person has. If rickets is caused by nutritional deficiencies, increasing consumption of vitamin D and calcium is usually effective in restoring health.