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  • Writer's pictureMalvika Malhotra

World Leprosy Day

Leprosy is an age old disease and is also known as the "poor man's disease". It is a chronic infection caused by Mycobacterium leprae, that multiplies slowly and can incubate in the body on an average of 5 years. The most challenging part of this disease is that the symptoms of the disease may occur within a year or can take 20 years or more for its diagnosis (due to good immunity).

The disease causes severe neurological complications and physical disabilities, mainly affecting skin, peripheral nerves, limbs and eyes. But is curable if treated in the early stages. Sometimes the symptoms may go so unnoticed that the diagnosis might take several years thereby leading to delayed treatment which progresses to permanent damage.

Nutrition and leprosy work as vice versa. Lack of nutrition and immunity can make an individual more susceptible to infection when in close contact with the infected individuals and an infected individual is at higher risk of nutrition deficiencies as well.

Treatment and Management of leprosy is possible by proper medication (by certified individual) and a healthy diet. Here are some of the tips to nutritionally manage the symptoms of leprosy -

  • A diet rich in Vitamin A which is beneficial for skin and may improve the symptoms affecting it.

  • Vitamin E is another such essential component that protects the skin by replacing the damaged cells or disrupted skin by cell regeneration process.

  • Vitamin B in the diet has a direct impact on the energy level, and improves cell metabolism, thereby preventing the risk of infection.

  • Vitamin C plays a major role in enhancing the immunity of the body, which is majorly affected in leprosy patients.

  • Another Vitamin that is very essential for leprosy is Vitamin D as it plays a major role in the absorption of Calcium and also helps maintain normal immune system which makes an individual resistant from invasion of pathogens.

  • Some of the other minerals essential are Calcium and Zinc. Calcium helps in the management of bone health, Zinc also helps maintaining the overall immune system and preventing from the risk of other secondary infections.

Overall, it is important that a healthy balanced and nutritious diet is provided to individuals with Leprosy. Proper care and treatment is the key to cure and management of Leprosy with the help and guidance of experts from Medical fields.


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