Meaning Kwashiorkor is a disease of protein malnutrition which impacts mainly children. It is commonly found in developing nations due to the eruptions of famines and droughts.
This disease was identified & defined in Ghana (in year 1930). The nursing Infant gets the required amount of amino acid through breastfeeding. But when a child is weaned and does not receive milk or meat properly, he is likely to develop Kwashiorkor.
There is a lack of maternal understanding regarding balanced diet among women which also contributes to the problem.
Causes Of Kwashiorkor
Kwashiorkor occurs typically at the age of one year, when infants are weaned from breastfeeding to a protein-deficient diet. But it can develop at any age and at any time. It may occur due to inadequate intake of protein in young age also. Kwashiorkor also occurs during societal unrest because the adequate food supply is affected at that time.
Unfortunately it is seen that people of developing countries eat diet which lacks in protein content, fresh fruits and vegetables. As a result Kwashiorkor is commonly found among young ones.
Symptoms Of Kwashiorkor
Distended belly is most common symptom of Kwashiorkor. Other symptoms may include changes in skin pigmentation, decreased muscle mass, coma, diarrhea and failure to gain weight and grow. It may also result in increased and more severe infections due to damaged immune system, rash (dermatitis), generalized edema & reddish pigmentation of hair.
Physiological & mental changes may include renal failure, fatty liver, irritability and lethargy. In more severe cases patient may experience shock and can even die.
Treatment Of Kwashiorkor
Kwashiorkor is caused due to malnutrition, so it can be treated through proper nutrition. Re-introduction of the food must be done slowly like carbohydrate must be given first to supply energy, followed by protein supplement.
Eat only that food which is stored properly because as research suggests Kwashiorkor can be caused due to rotten food. Early treatment of children with this condition may result in regression in their symptoms but they will never gain full height and growth.