Archive Of Standardized Exam Questions: Zinc Deficiency


This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose answer is zinc deficiency. While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how zinc deficiency will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a tradition question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a disease is quite valuable.


Question # 1

A 38 old man comes tot he clinic because of experiencing many watery bowel moments daily. He has also noticed some recent hear loss. About 1 month ago the patient explains that there was also a rash on his elbows an knees. His pas medical history is notable for regional enteritis that has been treated with long courses of oral corticosteroids (ranging from 3-30 months in length at a time). A physical exam demonstrates alopecia on the scalp and also hyeprkeratotic lesions the elbows and knees bilaterally. What is likely causing this patient’s condition?

Explanation: alopecia + rash + diarrhea = zinc deficiency

Question 2

A 45 year old male with a past history of Crohn disease comes to the clinic for a follow up visit. He recently had a partial ill resection do to the formation of stricter, and also had multiple operations to treat an enterocutaneous fistula. He has been receiving TPN for the past few weeks, and only restarted feeding orally. He explains that he has non-bloody diarrhea but denies any fever or abdominal pain. He explains that his food does not taste the same as before. A physical exam is remarkable for patchy alopecia and a vesicular, erythematous, crusting, scaling rash around his mouth and extremities. An abodminal exam reveals that his fistula has healed and is otherwise unremarkable. The rest of the physical exam is within normal limits. What is the likely diagnosis in this patient? 

Explanation: alopecia + rash + diarrhea = zinc deficiency 


Page Updated: 01.22.2017