Kwashiorkor Disease Causes and Symptoms

Kwashiorkor Disease Causes and Symptoms are discussed herein. We hope you find the article informative and helpful for your research.

Causes and Effects of Kwashiorkor

Causes and Symptoms of Kwashiorkor
Causes and Symptoms of Kwashiorkor – Photo Source:

Read Also: Prevention of Kwashiorkor

Research shows that Kwashiorkor is coined for the late breastfeeding, weaning, and post-weaning phases due to the deficiency.

During this very active growth period, protein, and vitamin B12 have very good biological value while excessive calorific intake in the form of carbohydrates should be avoided.

The main cause is a very sudden change from breast milk to semi-solid or solid foods consisting almost entirely of carbohydrates.

Read Also: Disorders Due To Malnutrition

A diet largely of carbohydrates will not provide the material needed for the growth of the child. For some time the child may appear to be all right, but then something happens to upset the balance, and symptoms of kwashiorkor rapidly appear.

Also, when a child is living on a minimum supply of protein, the onset of fever will use up the small protein stores in the body.

Infections, particularly those accompanied by fever (malaria) are often followed by kwashiorkor. Diarrhea will prevent the absorption of the already small intake of protein.

The child may lose its appetite either because of illness or because it is unhappy and feels noted by its mother. When a child is ill the mother sometimes thinks that food is bad for it and will only give it gruels made from starch and water.

The child may be suffering from an infection, but given this diet for any length of time, it will begin to suffer from malnutrition. It may be suffering from mild malnutrition which can become severe.

Read Also: Diseases Caused By Deficiencies In The Diet

Eggs, milk, fish, and meat are not given to the child because the mother thinks there are indigestible, or that they are bad for the child.

If the diet is barely adequate, the onset of eye and ear infections or polio yetis may cause a sudden decline. Intestinal parasites will draw on the child’s food supply and deprive it of its requirements.

 The following are symptoms of Kwashiorkor

Some signs are always present. Some signs vary from district to district with the type of basic food given. These may be related to the different amino acid contents of the small amounts of proteins available. The following are signs which are always present.

The feet, the face, and the hands are often swollen with fluids. The pressure on the skin will leave a pit mark, not left on healthy muscle. This edema may well hide the wasting of muscles.

The hair shows marked changes. It changes in color sometimes going almost white. It loses its curl and the skin will be paler than normal for that child.

Read Also: Common Ailments in Children

Apathy is another sign. The child lacks interest and is very unhappy; it does not seem to have the energy even to cry, but whimpers. Once digestion is affected, usually, there is diarrhea and less appetite.

In conclusion, other signs that are always present may include skin breaks which can become infected. In some cases, the skin becomes dry and flakes off. There may be secondary vitamin deficiencies due to lack of proper absorption which shows signs of kwashiorkor.

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