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Disorders of the Digestive System: Balanced Diet, Jaundice, Diarrhoea, Malnutrition, Practice Problems and FAQ’s

Sometimes we get abdominal pain.

When will this happen? 

When we eat too much unhealthy food, it causes frequent bowel movements. This condition is known as diarrhoea or we can say ‘loose motions’. 

abdominal pain

Similarly, there are different conditions of the digestive system which occur due to various reasons. 

Digestive system is a specialised system responsible for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. It involves various organs that work together to perform a specific function. 

The disorders of the digestive system occur due to inflammation by any pathogen, such as virus, bacteria, roundworm etc. Let’s understand some of the common digestive disorders.

Table of Contents:

  • Balanced Diet
  • Types of Vitamins
  • Disorders of the Digestive System
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Protein Energy Malnutrition
  • Practice Problems of Disorders of the Digestive System
  • FAQs of Disorders of the Digestive System

Balanced Diet

It is a diet that fulfils all the requirements of an individual’s nutritional needs. Proteins, fats, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals are the components of a balanced diet.

Source of Nutrients

The source of the various nutrients are given below:

Nutrients

Sources

Carbohydrates

Grains like wheat and rice, fruits, and vegetables

Fats

Cooking oils, nuts, milk and egg yolk

Proteins

Milk, eggs, meat, fish and pulses

Vitamins and minerals

Fruits, vegetables, milk, pulses, eggs and meat

Types of Vitamins

Vitamins are classified into two categories on the basis of solubility. They are:

1. Fat soluble vitamins
2. Water soluble vitamins

Fat Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed via fats. They are stored in fatty tissue. Various examples are discussed below:

Vitamins

Characteristics

Vitamin A

It is also known as retinol

Sources include papaya, carrots, tomatoes, etc

Deficiency causes night blindness and xerophthalmia

Vitamin D

It is also known as calciferol

Sources include meat, egg, yolk, fish etc

Deficiency causes rickets

Vitamin E

It is also known as tocopherol

Sources include almonds, peanuts etc

Deficiency causes muscle weakness

Vitamin K

It is also known as phylloquinone

Sources include green leafy vegetables

Deficiency causes poor blood clotting and poor bone development.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Water soluble vitamins dissolved in water. Various examples are discussed below:

Vitamin

Characteristics

Vitamin B complex

Sources include meat and dairy products

Deficiency causes anemia

Vitamin C

It is also known as ascorbic acid

Sources include citrus fruits, tomatoes etc

Deficiency causes scurvy

Disorders of the Digestive System

Digestive system disorders include inflammation of the intestinal tract that may be caused due to bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections. The disorder in the digestive system also occurs due to liver dysfunction. Deposition of bile pigments causes the yellowing of the skin and eyes. The common causes are viral infections and tumors.

Vomiting

The ejection or removal of the contents from the stomach through the mouth is called vomiting. It proceeds when a person has a feeling of nausea. The reflex action of vomiting is controlled by the vomiting centre located in the medulla of the brain. It is caused by food poisoning, infections and overeating.

vomiting centre in the medulla

Jaundice

The condition of jaundice occurs mainly due to liver dysfunction. Eyes and skin turn yellow normally due to the bile pigments deposition in jaundice.

yellowing of eyes

Diarrhoea

It is the condition of abnormal frequency of bowel movement. This increases liquidity of the faecal discharge. It reduces the absorption of food in the gut. This leads to increased egestion of digestible food. The causes of diarrhoea are food poisoning and imbalance in intestinal microbiota.

diarrhoea

Constipation

It is the condition that occurs when hard faeces is retained within the colon. The bowel movements occur irregularly. To relieve constipation, it is suggested that one consume more fibre in their diet. This stimulates the secretion of mucous in the large intestine. The fibres smoothen bowel movements and soften the stool.

condition of constipation

Indigestion

It is the improper digestion of food. It may also generate the feeling of fullness. The causes are inadequate enzyme secretion, anxiety, food poisoning, overeating, spicy food, etc.

condition of indigestion

Protein Energy Malnutrition

It occurs due to dietary deficiency of proteins and calories. PEM is prevalent in underdeveloped countries. PEM affects large populations during famine, political turmoil and drought. It affects infants and children. The protein deficiency produces marasmus and kwashiorkor.

Marasmus

It occurs due to simultaneous deficiency of proteins and calories. It occurs in infants of less than one year of age. It is observed if mother’s milk is replaced too early by other foods that are poor in protein and calories concentration. This often happens if the mother has a second pregnancy or childbirth immediately after the first one. 

Common Characteristics of Marasmus 

  • Impaired growth and replacement of tissue protein.
  • Skin becomes dry, thin and wrinkled.
  • Growth rate and body weight decline constantly.
  • Development of brain is impaired. 
  • Mental abilities are affected

marasmus

Kwashiorkor

It occurs due to deficiency of proteins unaccompanied by calorie deficiency. It results from the replacement of mother’s milk by a high calorie, low protein diet. It occurs in a child more than one year in age. 

Common Characteristics of Kwashiorkor

  • Wasting of muscles.
  • Thinning of limbs.
  • Failure of growth and brain development.
  • Some fat is still left under the skin.
  • Excessive trapping of fluids in the tissues of the body known as oedema which leads to the swelling of body parts.

kwashiorkor

Practice Problems of Disorders of the Digestive System

Question 1. _______________ is called retinol?

a. Vitamin B
b. Vitamin A
c. Vitamin C
d. Vitamin D

Solution: The other name of vitamin A is retinol. The sources of vitamin A include papaya, carrots, tomatoes, etc. Its deficiency causes night blindness and xerophthalmia in humans. Hence, the correct option is b.

Question 2. Determine the diseases which are caused due to protein deficiency?

a. Marasmus
b. Kwashiorkor
c. Jaundice
d. Both a and b

Solution: Protein energy malnutrition is a type of disease that is caused due to protein deficiency. This disease is prevalent in underdeveloped countries because of the insufficient supply of healthy diet. Kwashiorkor and marasmus occur due to protein deficiency. Hence, the correct option is d.

Question 3. Which disorder of the digestive system is characterised as the yellowing of eyes?

a. Vomiting
b. Constipation
c. Jaundice
d. Indigestion

Solution: Jaundice is described as the condition of liver dysfunction. Eyes and skin turn yellow commonly due to bile pigment deposition. Therefore, jaundice is characterised as the yellowing of eyes. Hence, the correct option is c.

Question 4. The vomiting centre is located in the _________ of the brain.

Solution: The vomiting centre is present in the medulla of the brain. It controls the reflex action of the vomiting. The condition of vomiting is characterised as the ejection of stomach content through the mouth.

FAQs of Disorders of the Digestive System

Question 1. Name the five common disorders of the digestive system in humans?

Solution: The common five disorders of the digestive system are enlisted below:

  • Vomiting - The condition in which the stomach content is ejected through the mouth.
  • Jaundice - The condition of jaundice occurs mainly due to liver dysfunction. The eyes and skin become yellow gradually due to the deposition of bile pigments.
  • Diarrhoea - Diarrhoea is characterised as the abnormal frequency of bowel movements.
  • Constipation - The condition of constipation arises when the hard faeces are retained in the colon for a longer time.
  • Indigestion - Indigestion occurs due to improper digestion of food. This gives the feeling of fullness.

Question 2. What are the components of a balanced diet?

Solution: A balanced diet fulfils all the requirements of an individual’s nutritional needs. Proteins, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals are the components of a balanced diet.

Question 3. Write down the major differences between water and fat soluble vitamins?

Solution

Fat soluble vitamins

Water soluble vitamins

Vitamins are absorbed via fats

Vitamins are dissolved in water

Examples include vitamins A, D, E and K.

Examples include vitamins B complex and C

Question 4. What are the common characteristics of marasmus?

Solution: The common characteristics of marasmus are enlisted below:

  • Impaired growth and replacement of tissue protein.
  • Skin becomes dry, thin and wrinkled.
  • Growth rate and body weight decline constantly.

Other Related Topics 

The Living World Biological Classification Plant Kingdom
Animal Kingdom Morphology of Flowering Plants Anatomy of Flowering Plants
Structural Organization in Animals Cells: The Unit of Life Biomolecules
Cell Cycle and Division Transport in Plants Mineral Nutrition
Photosynthesis in Higher Plants Respiration in Plants Plant Growth and Development
Digestion and Absorption Breathing and Exchange of Gases Body Fluids and Circulation
Excretory Products and their Elimination Locomotion and Movement Neural Control and Coordination
Chemical Coordination and Integration

Other Related Topic Of Biology

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