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Kwashiorkor refers to the children disease develops because of deficiency of protein.  Children mostly in the age group of three to five years are found to get malnutrition of protein and the disease, in medical term known as Kwashiorkor. The initial symptoms of Kwashiorkor are extreme weakness, irritability, energy loss and in a acute stage different types deficiencies like failure of growth, swelling in different parts of the body as well poor digestion, liver enlargement are found.   

The main cause behind Kwashiorkor is extreme protein shortage. However this may occur due to infections or bite by parasites. The effected children are mainly found from the developing countries as well as in a large percentage from the drought affected areas. Lack of knowledge on nutrition, contaminated food, and water source is also the cause of this disease. Liver is responsible to produce some serum proteins like albumin. As the child is feed with contaminated food and water, it makes a poisonous effect on the liver and ultimately this may cause kwashiorkor. 

Kwashiorkor makes a vast effect on the child. In acute stage the symptoms are abdominal detention, crabbiness, extreme diarrhea, swollen legs, face and liver, easy pluckable and reddish hair, broken skin, weight loss. In ultimate effect the child does not grow properly and becomes thinner. Kwashiorkor can make a serious effect even with the life of the child. Any negligence or improper treatment can lead to a considerable effect.

The measures to prevent this disease are as follows:

  1. The child should be given sufficient amount of protein containing foods like legumes, soybeans, meat, beans, milk and fish.
  2. Though protein deficiency is the main cause but along with protein food the child also needs to have other nutrient items as well as vitamins.
  3. The child can be given foods like mashed vegetables and fruits.
  4. As it causes diarrhea the deficiency of fluid should be taken care

Consultancy with the doctor is a must. As it requires an antibiotic treatment apart from that the doctor can advice how to increase the intake of carbohydrate or fat. Mother breast milk plays a very important role to support the baby.

Considering the huge effect of Kwashiorkor on a child can be finally suggested that as the initial symptoms are found it is better to consult with a doctor. Kwashiorkor can turn to an alarming stage if not cared in time. The ignorance of the people, worldwide particularly in under developing countries takes the children’s’ life in stake.

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This article was published on 2012/03/30