Sprue Symptoms and Treatment
Sprue is a serious disorder affecting people in many parts of the world. It is primarily a disease of digestive organs and appears to be closely related to certain deficiencies in the diet. It is most frequent seen in tropical areas, although it may occur in any country.
Patient with sprue complain of weakness, loss of weigh gaseous distention, soreness of the mouth, diarrhea, and increased pigmentation of the skin, especially over the exposed areas of the body. The tongue is red and sore and very tender. Often the abdomen is detained, while the rest of the body becomes thin and emaciated.
In many cases the stools are bulky and foul, due to incomplete digestion and poor absorption of food. Bluish spots may appear under the skin (purpura) and the patient may feel listless and apathetic. Not all cases of sprue are as pronounced as this. Many milder cases occur in which some of these characteristics may not be too obvious. However, most of these patient suffer from anemia, and appear rather pale and weak.
For several ill patients, bed rest may be needed for time. The diet should be low in fats, high in vitamins and proteins. During the earlier stage of the disease it may be advisable to exclude wheat and rye products from the diet until the patient feels better. Extra vitamins should be given, including injections of B12 at weekly intervals.
Good nursing care will usually help to bring relief and a sense of well-being to the patient. Liver extract and iron should be given to patients with marked anemia. ACTH has produced dramatic results, apparently by reducing the inflammation and helping to restore the body functions to normal. Prednisolone tablets, 5mg each day for a few weeks will help to tide the patient over until he feels better.
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