Kwashiorkar: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment


Kwashiorkar is a malnutrition  type with number of nutritional factors. Kwashiorkar is mainly caused due to  insufficient protein intake. Individual consumes good calories but less protein leads to Kwashiorkar. Kwashiorkar commonly occurs in older children and adults. Meaning of term Kwashiorkar is the disease of the displaced child. Kwashiorkar is a protein malnutrition disorder caused because of less protein intake.

Causes of Kwashiorkar

Areas of famine, limited food supply, and low levels of education, which can lead to inadequate knowledge of proper diet commonly causes kwashiorkar.  Fatigue, Irritability, Lethargy, are the early symptoms of Protein energy malnutrition.  Deprivation of protein leads to growth failure, loss of muscle mass, generalized swelling, and weak immunity.Increased dietary needs in the children and less nutrient intake,Lack of balanced diet are the main causes of kwashiorkar.Limited food supply, and low levels of education, which can lead to inadequate knowledge of proper diet CAUSES Kwashiorkar.A large, protuberant belly is common. Skin conditions (such as dermatitis,  changes in pigmentation, thinning of hair,) are seen frequently. shock  and coma precede death.

In the U.S.The incidence of kwashiorkar in children  is extremely low and only rare, isolated cases are seen.

Kwashiorkar is typical  disease seen in developing countries, and is often seen in the midst of drought or political turmoil.

protein intake and improving calorie will correct kwashiorkar, when treatment is  started earlier. However, full height and growth potential will never be achieved in children who have had Kwashiorkar.

Severe kwashiorkar in  children may cause  permanent mental and physical disabilities. The  statistical evidence confirms that malnutrition during early life of children permanently decreases IQ  of kwashiorkar affected child.

Risk factors  of kwashiorkar includes children  living in developing countries, countries in political unrest, and countries affected by frequent natural disasters (such as drought). These conditions such as droughts, tsunami responsible for scarcity of food which leads to malnutrition and causes kwashiorkar.

Symptoms of  kwashiorkar

  • Poor linear growth and reduced  weight gain
  • Lethargy or apathy
  • Irritability
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Large belly that stick out (protrudes)
  • Diarrhea
  • Dermatitis
  • Changes in skin pigment ;
  • Hair changes — Change in colour of hair , becomes reddish, thin, or brittle,
  • more  vulnerable to infections due to weak  immune system
  • Shock (in later stage)
  • Coma (in later stage)

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