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Acrodermatitis Enteropathica

The inability to absorb the essential mineral zinc from the diet occurs during affliction with acrodermatitis enteropathica, which is a rare child-hood disorder that is hereditary and is passed on from parent to child. Typically the same types of symptoms that occur in patient with extremely low levels of the mineral zinc will develop the same symptomatic reactions as those that occur in children who suffer from this condition; thus even normal people who are not necessary genetically inclined to the condition can develop the symptoms if their absorptive capacity for zinc from the diet is limited.

The formation of lesions on the skin is typical symptom of acrodermatitis enteropathica in all patients who suffer from the condition, irrespective of whether they are genetically prone to the condition or not. The condition is lethal and leads to the death of the child in infancy or early childhood if some medical intervention is not carried out as a therapeutic measure.

The physical evidence for the disease can be observed in a swelling or reddening of the skin around the fingernails in the patient. The main symptoms can also include growth retardation, the presence of a persistent diarrhea, the loss of hair and balding and the presence of a red skin rash on the body of the child.

Certain foodstuffs are ideal as supplements, including foods like oysters, red meat like beef and liver, the seeds of the pumpkin and nuts like pecans, and Brazil nuts - these foods all are high in their zinc content and can be effectively used as a  dietary source. Additional zinc supplementation through the use of capsules and tablets are albeit necessary in all cases of patients with acrodermatitis enteropathica.

During the heightened phase of this malady, the patient experiences noticeable petulance as well as mental disturbances owing to the degeneration of the brain cortex. It is vital to diagnose as well as cure this disorder. The vital laboratory findings in acrodermatitis enteropathica show an exceptionally poor level of zinc in the bloodstream, a sign of damaged or insufficient zinc uptake. Generally, the symptoms of this malady are evident in infants who are bottle-fed with just a few days or weeks after birth as well as the infants who are breast fed soon after discontinuation. Male as well as female children are both affected in the same manner by acrodermatitis enteropathica. The symptoms of this condition may include reddish and inflamed areas of dehydrated and flaky skin, especially in the region of the body openings, for instance, the mouth, eyes, anus and also on the skin in the region of the hands, elbows, feet and knees. These symptoms may have an appearance like those of atopic dermatitis. The lesions may resemble eczema or develop further into coated cysts (crusted vesicles), pustules or bullas. The lesions on the skin may further be infected by bacteria, for instance, Staphylococcus aureus, or fungi such as Candida albicans.

If acrodermatitis enteropathica is ignored and not treated on time, it may prove to be fatal and the afflicted person may breathe his/ her last in a few years' time. Undertaking a biopsy of the skin may also help in diagnosing the condition. Enhancement of the dermatitis by providing zinc supplements is another excellent sign of insufficiency. People suffering from acrodermatitis enteropathica requires monitoring by qualified health professionals to ascertain whether their level of zinc supplementation is sufficient and that the zinc complements are not encouraging a copper insufficiency. People enduring acrodermatitis enteropathica are normally given non-prescription zinc supplements. Usually, zinc supplement in the measure of 30 mg to 150 mg every day is given to people with this medical condition.

Supplements and herbs

Complete remission and recovery from the hereditary form of acrodermatitis enteropathica can be achieved in genetically prone individuals through zinc supplementation with capsules and tablets. With this form of the condition the use of 30 to 150 mg of the zinc supplements per day is advised during the treatment period. In order to avoid further complications like the depletion of copper from the body that usually occurs during zinc supplementation and at the same time to ensure the intake of zinc is adequate, healthcare professionals must always be around to monitor the supplementation of people with acrodermatitis enteropathica.

Additional things you may do

In addition to using herbs and supplements, you may do a few more things to cure acrodermatitis enteropathica and alleviate its symptoms. For instance, you may apply warm compresses to get rid of the scaly crust. Following this, apply white petroleum jelly to the worn away skin lesions. When you do this, it might augment the re-epithelialisation when you do it along with zinc replacement.

While it is not necessary to give the patients enduring acrodermatitis enteropathica any specific diet till they are been provided with zinc supplementation, they may be given specific foods, such as crab, oysters, pork, beef and fowl, which enclose rich amounts of zinc. It may be noted that the content of zinc is directly associated with protein content.

As in the case of majority of genetic disorders, there is not lasting cure for acrodermatitis enteropathica. While the results of clinical trials of gene therapy have been positive, scientists are still not certain about using it for treating metabolic disorders. The symptoms associated with acrodermatitis enteropathica may be reversed by taking zinc supplements orally in dosage of more than 1 mg to 2 mg per kg of the patient's body weight daily. Usually, the zinc supplement is given as zinc gluconate or zinc sulfate, because administering pure zinc may result in allergies, especially in babies. Physicians normally observe positive response of using zinc supplements within five to ten days of starting the therapy.

It has been found that the patients' health improves when there is a notable augmentation in the levels of plasma zinc in their body. It is absolutely necessary to monitor the condition of patients who are suffering from acrodermatitis enteropathica and being administered zinc supplements once in three or six months. The oral zinc supplement dosage of the patient ought to be increased in case his/ he condition worsens. It has been found that using skin ointment for treating acrodermatitis enteropathica helps to augment new cell formation, especially when it is used in conjunction with oral zinc supplementation. Only young children ought to be given a diet containing high levels of zinc.

In fact, zinc replacement helps to alleviate depression and improve the mood of the patient. In addition, it is also effective in diminishing irritability.

Ingestion of specific foods also helps to improve the zinc level in the body. Some such foods include almonds, beef, baked beans, cashews, chickpeas, chicken, pork, peanuts, red meat and turkey.

Antibiotics may be used to easily treat the secondary or resultant dermatological infections. In fact, physicians and healthcare providers recommending zinc supplements to people with acrodermatitis enteropathica ought to be careful, because when used in elevated doses it may cause side-effects like anemia and dizziness. Treating the basic causes of hepatic disorders may help to reverse this condition and, at the same time, encourage the zinc levels in the body.

Some patients have also used vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E with a view to enhance the health of their skin as well as to make the skin more supple and resilient. In fact, vitamins C and E are considered to be potent antioxidants that help in promoting more rapid healing of wounds on the skin.

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