Vitamin E is an important vitamin that our bodies need to function properly. Vitamin E is found in many foods, and most people who eat a healthy diet get plenty of vitamin E in their bodies. When people do not have enough vitamin E for their bodies to function properly, they are vitamin E deficient and may require treatment.
Vitamin E Deficiency Risk Factors
While Vitamin E deficiency can affect anyone, there are certain people who are more at risk for it than others. Certain illnesses and health problems can increase that risk and even lead to severe deficiency. Some health problems that can put a person at risk for vitamin E deficiency include:
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Short bowel syndrome
Vitamin E Deficiency Causes
The causes of vitamin E deficiency can vary. In some cases, there is more than one cause, while in others the cause is unknown. Doctors work to find the cause, so they can correct the problem and ensure that treatment is successful. Certain illnesses can cause the condition as well as poor diet. Many people fail to eat foods that contain vitamin E and become deficient as a result.
Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms
The symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are often confused with other symptoms or common aches and pains. Many people do not seek medical attention for their symptoms until they’ve become severe. Some of the most common symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include:
- Difficulty with walking or coordination
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Visual disturbances
- General unwellness
Vitamin E Deficiency Diagnosis
Doctors can often diagnose a vitamin E deficiency based on a patient’s symptoms. In some cases, they will require a blood test to determine if the person is vitamin E deficient. Doctors may also check patients for Vitamin E deficiency regularly if they suffer from a disease or illness that puts them at risk for it.
Vitamin E Deficiency Treatment
The treatment for vitamin E deficiency often depends on the cause. If the cause is dietary, doctors may recommend a diet that contains foods that are high in Vitamin E. Doctors may also recommend oral supplements to take every day. If the deficiency is severe, doctors may give their patients an injection to increase the amount of the vitamin E in their system faster. Some foods that are a good source of Vitamin E include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Vegetable-based oils, especially olive and sunflower
- Leafy vegetables
- Fortified cereals
Vitamin E Deficiency Prognosis
Once diagnosed and treated for vitamin E deficiency, most people start to feel better pretty quickly. Those who are at risk to become deficient again should be monitored by a doctor and should eat a healthy diet of Vitamin E rich foods. If left untreated, it can lead to a serious medical condition, and in rare cases, even death.
Vitamin E Deficiency Complications
The longer a person remains Vitamin E deficient, the more likely that individual is to suffer complications from it. Some complications are serious and may require medical treatment. Some common complications include: