Hypervitaminosis A is a medical term used to describe an excessive amount of vitamin A, specifically retinoid, in the body. This condition is considered acute if too much vitamin A is taken over a short period of time and chronic if it occurs slowly over a prolonged period. Symptoms of hypervitaminosis A may include visual disturbances, dizziness, and irritability. Liver damage may occur if this condition is not diagnosed and treated promptly. Treatment for hypervitaminosis A is relatively simple and consists of reducing the intake of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is essential to human health, although it should be taken only in recommended doses in order to prevent complications such as hypervitaminosis A. Pregnant women who take too much of this vitamin risk abnormal fetal development, making it even more important to take only recommended doses. Any questions concerning the proper daily dosage of vitamin A should be discussed with a doctor or nutritionist.
Some of the most common symptoms of hypervitaminosis A include dizziness, blurred vision, and headaches. Double vision, irritability, and fatigue may also be present. The severity of these symptoms varies widely, and blood tests are often needed in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Children with this condition often have a difficult time gaining weight, and men may experience swelling of the breast tissue.
Changes involving the skin and hair are relatively common hypervitaminosis A symptoms. Oily skin and hair as well as hair loss may occur when this condition is present, or the skin may itch and peel. Cracked skin at the corners of the mouth is frequently reported as well. Some people may notice an increased sensitivity to sunlight or a yellow discoloration to the skin. More serious side effects of too much vitamin A may include bone pain, changes in consciousness levels, or liver damage.
In most cases, the effects of hypervitaminosis A can be reversed simply by reducing the amount of vitamin A that is consumed. If kidney or liver damage has occurred, a full recovery may not always be possible. The doctor may recommend a consultation with a nutritionist in an effort to help the patient plan healthy meals that contain the proper amounts of this vitamin. The dosage may need to be adjusted if supplements are being taken. If adequate amounts of vitamin A are being consumed through the diet, a separate vitamin supplement containing retinoids may not be needed.