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Food-Related Health Issues

By Robin Wood-Moen ; Updated June 13, 2017

Food can be one of the greatest assets in preventing poor development, disease, symptoms and even pain. However, for some, food can be the source of these health problems. Most food-related health issues can be traced to food scarcity, lifestyle choices, overconsumption, genetics or abnormalities in immune system response. Consult with a licensed health professional before attempting to self-medicate or otherwise treat any condition on your own. Problems with food intake and nutrition can indicate a more serious condition and should be treated by a doctor.

Food Allergy

Food allergies are common, especially among children. The most offensive foods are those containing peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network suggests that nearly 12 million Americans currently suffer from food allergies. Symptoms may present as a mild reaction, such as rashes, hives, itching or swelling. More severe symptoms can include trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness and even death. Allergies can be diagnosed through a simple prick test or blood draw.

Malabsorption

Malabsorption occurs when the digestive tract is not functioning properly. Generally, the body is unable to benefit from the intake of nutrients from food due to disease, intestinal parasites, re-sectioning of the stomach, cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, the excessive production of gastric acid or short bowel syndrome. Halifax Health also lists celiac disease, Crohn's, excessive use of antibiotic medications and laxatives as contributing to malabsorption. Symptoms of malabsorption can include weight loss, abdominal distention and bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, fatigue, swelling or the retention of fluids, and muscle wasting. A simple blood or stool test may be necessary to determine if you have a vitamin, mineral or other deficiency due to malabsorption.

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Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a condition caused by inadequate intake of nutrients. For instance, an inadequate or poorly balanced diet, digestion problems, malabsorption and certain diseases such as cancer can starve the body of nutrition it desperately needs to survive. According to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, malnutrition can occur in those who do not consume enough food to sustain health or a wide enough variety to ensure adequate nutrient intake.

Obesity

Obesity is excess body weight due to fat accumulation that can be caused by several conflicting health conditions, including overconsumption of food. This condition is particularly life-threatening due to its ability to trigger the onset of other medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Symptoms attributed to obesity include depression, sleep apnea, shortness of breath, autoimmune disorders and problems with movement.

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