Get Information About Pellagra Disease

One of the rare diseases that are fatally affecting the lives of people would have to be Pellagra. While there is not much information about the disease, we have tried our best to provide all the details that people need to know about it. Since it is a very rare disease, there are some important pieces of information such as the symptoms and the treatment options that people need to know about. This is why we have compiled all the details regarding the Pellagra disease so that people can know to get a better understanding of the disease.

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What is Pellagra?

Often caused due to the lower levels of niacin which is also known as Vitamin B-3, Pellagra is a disease that affects many parts of the body. The main marks of Pellagra are diarrhoea, dementia, and acute dermatitis. These are the three “D’s” that are associated with the disease. If the disease remains untreated for a very long time and the patient doesn’t get any medical attention, it can be quite fatal for them. The disease might not be as common as the other ones but there are still more cases in developing countries. This is due to the major advancements in the food industry. Apart from that, Pellagra can also be seen in people who don’t absorb Niacin in their bodies. We hope that this clears out the question of what is pellagra.

Know All About the Symptoms of Pellagra

Some of the most common symptoms that are seen in people suffering from Pellagra would be diarrhoea, dementia, and dermatitis. This might be attributed to the fact that there is a niacin deficiency in the body of the person. This causes cell turnover and hence causes the gastrointestinal tract and the skin to have problems. When it comes to pellagra definition, it can be said that having lower levels of Vitamin B-3 can cause this disease.

When there is a case of dermatitis that is in relation to pellagra, there are often several rashes found in the lips, face, hands, and feet of the patient. Apart from that, dermatitis can also occur in the neck of the person and that case is known as Casal Necklace.

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Some Symptoms might Include:

  • Flaky and red skin

  • Discolouration in several areas of the skin

  • Cracked, scaly, crusty, or thick skin

  • Itching and burning sensations on the skin

Apart from That, There is an Onset of Dementia in the Patients as Well. the Symptoms of This Problem might Include:

  • Depression

  • Apathy

  • Headaches

  • Mood Swings, Irritability, and Other Problems

  • Disorientation and Delusions

  • Restlessness or Anxiety

Some Other Symptoms might Include:

  • Sores on the gums and lips

  • Vomiting and nausea

  • Trouble in drinking and eating

  • Decreased appetite

What is Pellagra Caused by?

Before learning pellagra is caused by it, it is important to know the types of the disease. Well, there are two different types of the disease and these are known as primary pellagra and secondary pellagra. In the case of primary pellagra, there is a deficiency of tryptophan or niacin in the body. Tryptophan is often converted into niacin and hence not getting enough of it might lead to the deficiency of the vitamin in the body of a patient.


In the case of secondary pellagra, the body isn’t really able to properly absorb niacin and that can cause problems. Some of the major causes of the pellagra disease are:

  • Eating disorders

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Liver cirrhosis

  • Different gastrointestinal diseases that include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

  • Hartnup disease

  • Carcinoid tumours

Information About Pellagra Disease Diagnosis

It can be a difficult task to diagnose this particular disease due to the wide range of symptoms that it has. Not to mention that there isn’t a proper test that can be used for the diagnosis of a niacin deficiency in the body. However, the doctor might be able to diagnose the disease by looking through any changes in your mental state and skin issues along with gastrointestinal problems as well. The doctor might also want to test your urine in order to make sure. There are certain cases where the diagnosis of pellagra involves checking if the symptoms respond to different supplements containing niacin.

Information About the Treatment of Pellagra

There are different methods for treating the different types of pellagra disease. For example, in the case of primary pellagra, the treatment will involve several changes in the diet along with a nicotinamide or niacin supplement. The dosage has to be intravenous in nature. Nicotinamide can be considered a great supplement filled with Vitamin B-3 and hence is used in the treatment process. If the primary pellagra case is treated early, then the recovery doesn’t take much longer.

In fact, you might start to feel a lot better just after having the treatment for a few days. The improvement of skin might take some time. However, if proper treatment is not provided, then primary pellagra can prove to be fatal in about 4-5 years. Secondary pellagra on the other hand uses the treatment to diminish the underlying problems. However, certain supplements of niacin also prove to be helpful in the case of secondary pellagra treatment.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Some of the Main Symptoms of Pellagra Disease?

Ans: When it comes to Pellagra disease, there are some symptoms that help people in understanding whether they are suffering from this disease or not. It can be pretty tough to diagnose because the symptoms are too wide-ranged. Not to mention that there is no proper testing method available for checking the lower levels of niacin in the body. However, with the symptoms such as dermatitis, poor mental state, mood swings, and gastrointestinal problems, it can be a bit simple to diagnose this disease. These common symptoms can help people in knowing whether they are actually suffering from Pellagra or it is something else entirely.

2. How Can Pellagra Disease be Treated?

Ans: After the proper diagnosis of Pellagra, the doctor will help you find out whether it is a case of primary pellagra or secondary pellagra. It is important to know what type you have in order to finalize a proper treatment plan. Since pellagra is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B-3, it is also treated with supplements that are rich in Vitamin. Nicotinamide is considered to be one of those supplements that are rich in vitamins and hence mostly used. Apart from that, other supplements along with some diet changes can help in lowering the risk of fatality of the disease. That is why it is really important to get treated for the disease.