What is Kwashiorkor?

Kwashiorkor is a kind of protein-energy malnutrition caused by the inadequate intake of protein with reasonable energy intake. It is a type of extreme malnutrition that affects kids living in poverty in tropical & subtropical parts of the world. Kwashiorkor stunts growth & causes babies to have bloated bellies & narrow legs & arms.  It often occurs during the time of a drought or other natural catastrophe, or due to political unrest. These conditions are responsible for a lack of food, which ends up in malnutrition.

Some children with kwashiorkor create oedema. It is an accumulation of liquid in the tissue, the feet & legs. Such children may not lose weight when developing acute protein-energy malnutrition because the weight of this excess oedema liquid counterbalances the weight of lost fat & muscle tissue, because of that these kids may look fat or swollen.

What are the causes of Kwashiorkor?

Kwashiorkor is caused by a diet reduced in protein. It can furthermore originate due to infections, parasites, or other conditions that hinder with protein absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. It is most common in young kids dwelling in localities strike by drought and famine, but it can be related to dietary alterations due to milk allergies in infants, fad eating sparingly, poor nutritional learning, or a chaotic home life.

Symptoms of Kwashiorkor?

Early signs of the kwashiorkor present as general symptoms of malnutrition and encompass fatigue, irritability and lethargy. As protein deprivation continues the following abnormalities become apparent. Common symptoms include: Diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal swelling, distension or bloating, frequent infections, hair and nail changes, enlarged liver, skin changes, including red or purple patches,  pigment loss, cracking, peeling and skin sloughing, fatigue, slowed growth leading to short stature, irritability, generalized swelling and muscle wasting.

Treatment Options?

Getting more calories and protein will correct kwashiorkor, if treatment is begun early enough. Although, young kids who have had this condition will never come to their full promise for height and development. Treatment depends upon its severity. Intravenous fluids need to be injected to correct the fluid and electrolyte imbalance, and diseases may need remedy with antibiotics.

Common treatments for kwashiorkor may include: Antibiotics to treat infections, intravenous fluids to correct fluid and electrolyte imbalances, gradual increases in dietary protein, vitamin and mineral supplements to treat deficiencies, lactase to assist in digestion of dairy products and gradual increases in dietary calories from sugars, carbohydrates and fats.

Treatment starts with rehydration. Subsequent boost in food intake should advance gradually, starting with carbohydrates pursued by protein supplementation. If treatment is started early, there can be a regression of symptoms, though full size and weight promise will expected never be reached. Many malnourished children will create intolerance to milk sugar ie. lactose intolerance. They will need to be given supplements with the enzyme lactase so that they can tolerate milk products.

Once the energy has been increased, proteins can be given to the kid. Other nutrients such as minerals and vitamins are also administered in the kind of supplements. However, long lasting physical and mental issues may create. If the condition is not treated at all, it could show deadly for the kid. In poor countries, the affected children may not be able to get the necessary food that will help them recover from this condition. Medical help is also something that is out of their reach.

How can we prevent this disorder?

Kwashiorkor can be prevented by eating a well-balanced diet as it is a dietary deficiency disease. However, in plenty of parts of the world, people are poor to provide their families with protein-rich foods, or such foods are not obtainable. International efforts to provide food and to teach people about eating the right foods, and ways to limit relative size are helpful in the fight against malnutrition, but it remains an ongoing issue in developing countries.

Difference between Marasmus and Kwashiorkor?

In the case of kwashiorkor, young kids experience acute protein-calorie malnutrition. In other phrases they are not getting sufficient protein in their diet which they would use to construct and restore tissue in the body. In marasmus the children create thinness but not edema and the causes are not entirely understood. Why marasmus patients don't have edema like kwashiorkor patients?          That's because visceral proteins are maintained in Marasmus, which is distinguished by a usually weakened caloric intake. Only muscle proteins are used to make glucose. Proteinemia is thus maintained or only somewhat weakened therefore oncotic force does not drop.  Both are caused by a lack of protein calories, but kwashiorkor will never appear before six months as the kid is being breastfed but in the case of Marasmus it may appear before the breast feeding.




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