VITAMIN K DEFICIENCY
DESCRIPTIONVitamin K deficiency is inadequate or absent vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for proper blood clotting. Some vitamin K is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. The liver and blood are involved. Vitamin K deficiency can affect both sexes, all ages. A newborn infant lacks vitamin K until its body begins to produce it.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSUnusual bleeding, such as from the child's gums, nose, or gastrointestinal tract.
CAUSESExcessive amounts of anticoagulant drugs, such as warfarin or dicumarol.
Prolonged use of antibiotics. Vitamin K is produced by intestinal bacteria that are destroyed by antibiotics.
Malabsoprtion disorders, such as celiac disease, pellagra, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or cystic fibrosis.
Poor nutrition, especially an unbalanced diet with inadequate amounts of vitamin K.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInjections of vitamin K are given to newborn infants, and to children (or adults) with gallbladder disease or malabsorption disorders, to prevent deficiency. For most children, a well-balanced diet should provide all the vitamin K necessary.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies of blood clotting.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSSevere or fatal hemorrhage.
Curable with vitamin K supplements by mouth or injection.
HOME CAREIf your child takes anticoagulants, give only the prescribed amount. Have the child take frequent blood tests to monitor prothrombin time (See Glossary) and prevent unexpected bleeding.
MEDICATIONYour doctor will prescribe vitamin K orally or by injection.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your family should eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods high in vitamin K, such as green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, tomatoes, cheese, egg yolks, and liver.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has unexplained bleeding or bruising, especially if the child takes anticoagulants, or has gallbladder disease or a malabsorptive disorder.