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Kwashiorkor
27 Jan' 21

Kwashiorkor

 


What is the cause of kwashiorkor?  

Lack of protein in the diet causes Kwashiorkor. Protein is found in every cell in your body. Protein is required in your diet for your body to repair and replace cells. This is how a healthy human body regenerates cells regularly. Protein is particularly necessary for growth in children and during pregnancy. When the body is deficient in protein, growth and regular bodily functions slow down, and kwashiorkor develops. Kwashiorkor is more common in regions where food is scarce or nonexistent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America, it is usually prevalent in children and newborns. During times of hunger-induced by natural calamities — such as droughts or floods — or political upheaval, these countries often have a limited supply or absence of food. People can also develop this illness due to a lack of dietary understanding and regional reliance on low-protein foods, such as the maize-based diets of many South American countries. This illness is uncommon in countries where the majority of people have enough food and can consume enough protein. If kwashiorkor is detected in the United States, it is usually found in children or elderly individuals and might be a result of abuse, neglect, or fad diets. It could also be a symptom of a more serious underlying illness, such as HIV. 

 

What are some of the signs and symptoms of kwashiorkor?  

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of kwashiorkor:    

  • hue shifts in the skin and hair (to a rust color) & texture exhaustion  
  • Muscular mass decrease due to diarrhea  
  • Failure to gain weight or grow  
  • The immune system is harmed by edema (swelling) of the ankles, feet, and abdomen, which can lead to more frequent and severe infections.  
  • Irritability  
  • Shock with a flaky rash 

 

How can you know if you have kwashiorkor?  

If you have kwashiorkor, your doctor will examine you to see if you have an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) or edema. Following that, blood and urine tests to determine the level of protein and sugar in your blood may be ordered. Other tests on your blood and urine may be performed to detect signs of malnutrition and protein deficiency. These tests may measure kidney function, overall health, and growth as well as look for muscle breakdown. These tests include the following:    

  • Arterial blood gas 
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)  
  • Creatinine levels in the blood  
  • Potassium levels in the blood 
  • Urinalysis 
  • Full blood count (CBC) 

 

What is the treatment for kwashiorkor?  

Kwashiorkor can be treated by eating more protein and calories in general, particularly if treatment begins early.  

 More calories in the form of carbohydrates, sweets, and fats may be given to you initially. You will be given protein-rich foods once these calories have provided you with energy. Because you have been without sufficient nutrition for a long time, foods must be gradually introduced and calories increased. Your body may need to acclimate to the increased consumption.  

 Your doctor may also advise you to add vitamin and mineral supplements to your diet on a long-term basis. 

 

What are the kwashiorkor complications?  

Children with kwashiorkor may never reach their full development and height potential, even with treatment. A child's physical and mental problems may be permanent if treatment is received too late. The illness can progress to unconsciousness, shock, or death if left untreated.

 

Knowing what to eat and what to look out for  

Kwashiorkor can be avoided by consuming a sufficient amount of calories and protein-rich foods. Protein should account for 10 to 35 percent of an adult's daily calories, according to the Institute of Medicine Trusted Source. Protein should account for five to twenty percent of young children's daily calories and ten to thirty percent of older children's and teenagers' daily calories. 

Protein can be found in a variety of foods, including:  

  • Seafood 
  • eggs  
  • beans 
  • peas 
  • almonds 
  • seeds 

 

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