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Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for good vision, skin growth and quality, bone formation and fetal growth. Vitamin A must come from vitamin A supplements or precursors in our diet (retinol from meat or carotene from fruit and vegetables). Some dietary deficiencies or intestinal absorption problems can lead to harmful vitamin A deficiencies. Test results are expressed in micromoles of vitamin A per litre of blood (umol/L).

A normal level of vitamin A in the blood indicates that the individual has enough vitamin A, but does not indicate whether he has enough vitamin A in reserve during certain conditions (illness, pregnancy). Lower-than-normal levels indicate that the reserves are exhausted and that the individual has a vitamin A deficiency. A higher-than-normal level indicates that the body’s storage capacity has been exceeded and that the individual is at risk of vitamin A toxicity (headaches, nausea, vomiting, double vision, fatigue, weakness, etc.). Excessive dietary beta-carotene intake may cause a yellow-orange skin coloration, but does not cause vitamin A toxicity.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.