Kwashiorkor – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Thursday, May 03, 2018 by

Kwashiorkor is a childhood disease that occurs due to protein deprivation. The early side effects of the disease include apathy, drowsiness, and irritability.

Patients with kwashiorkor often have an enlarged and prominent stomach. Kwashiorkor severely weakens the immune system and makes the patient susceptible to various infectious diseases.

Kwashiorkor is the major cause of illness and death among children around the globe, but it is more common in very poor countries. Children often develop kwashiorkor during a drought, other natural disasters, or during political unrest since these conditions may cause a lack of food that can result in malnutrition.

Children in the U.S. rarely develop kwashiorkor. If the disease does occur in the country, it is usually caused by child abuse and severe neglect.

Kwashiorkor is also called malignant malnutrition, protein malnutrition, and protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM).

Known side effects of kwashiorkor

The side effects of kwashiorkor usually include:

  • A change in skin and hair color (e.g. to a rust color) and texture
  • Damaged immune system — This may result in more frequent and severe infections.
  • Diarrhea
  • Edema/swelling of the ankles, belly, and feet
  • Failure to gain weight or grow taller
  • Fatigue
  • Flaky rash
  • Irritability
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Shock

Body systems harmed by kwashiorkor

Kwashiorkor may cause the following complications:

  • Coma
  • Permanent mental and physical disability
  • Shock
  • Stunted growth and height — Even if children who have had kwashiorkor receive treatment, they may be unable to grow normally.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent kwashiorkor

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent kwashiorkor and malnutrition:

  • Carbohydrates — Carbohydrates can help energize the body since the brain requires it to produce energy. Sources include honey, oats, pasta, sugars, and wheat.
  • Fats — Fats are crucial for the maintenance of healthy skin and hair. Fats also helps insulate the body organs against shock, maintain the body temperature, and allow for healthy cell functioning. They also store energy in the body. Additionally, fats contain essential fatty acids that can prevent many diseases such as malnutrition. Sources include nuts and seeds, oil, and peanut butter.
  • Fruits and vegetables — Fruits and vegetables contain various vitamins that can help make your body stronger.
  • Proteins — Protein is a nutrient that helps the body regulate the pH, or acid-base balance, in the blood. pH levels need to be stable for the production of hormones and enzymes. Protein is also required to metabolize and process energy in the liver and the kidneys. Sources include eggs, fish, grains, legumes, nuts, oatmeal, quinoa, and wheat.
  •  Vitamins and minerals — Different vitamins are required so the body can perform different processes. Vitamins and minerals promote good health and they help protect the body against infections and different diseases. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals can also help prevent malnutrition.
  • Vitamin B12 — Vitamin B12 helps produce DNA and red blood cells. Sources include seafood and meat like beef, chicken, clams, crab, eggs, milk, mussels, salmon, and turkey.
  • Water — Make sure you drink at least nine glasses of water a day so you can stay hydrated.

Treatments, management plans for kwashiorkor

If diagnosed early, kwashiorkor can be treated by consuming more protein and calories.

Patients with the disease will be advised to consume more calories by eating foods rich in carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. After these calories provide the patient with energy, they will be required to eat protein-rich foods.

Do take note that foods must be introduced and calories should be increased gradually since the patient has been without proper nutrition for a long time. Their body may have to slowly adjust to the increased calorie and protein intake.

A healthcare professional may also recommend long-term vitamin and mineral supplementation to a patient’s diet.

Where to learn more

Summary

Kwashiorkor is a childhood disease that occurs due to protein deprivation. The early side effects of the disease include apathy, drowsiness, and irritability. Patients with kwashiorkor often have an enlarged and prominent stomach. Kwashiorkor severely weakens the immune system and makes the patient susceptible to various infectious diseases.

The side effects of kwashiorkor usually include failure to gain weight or grow taller, fatigue, flaky rash, and irritability.

Kwashiorkor may cause complications like coma, permanent mental and physical disability, shock, and stunted growth and height.

Foods or nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, fruits and vegetables, proteins, vitamins and minerals, vitamin B12, and water can help prevent kwashiorkor and malnutrition.

If diagnosed early, kwashiorkor can be treated by consuming more protein and calories.Patients with the diseases will be advised to consume more calories by eating foods rich in carbohydrates, fats, and sugars. After these calories provide the patient with energy, they will be required to eat protein-rich foods.

Sources include

MedicineNet.com

MedlinePlus.gov

Healthline.com

StyleCraze.com



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