Introduction A dietary history of a monotonous
single cereal-based diet with
inclusion of animal-source foods
less than once per week will
raise suspicion of kwashiorkor.
Diets based on corn, cassava, and
rice are those most commonly
associated with kwashiorkor.
Cessation of breast-feeding in the
few months before presentation
is a common finding. There may be
a history of preceding diarrhea
or measles infection.
Kwashiorkor edema starts in the
feet and develops over a few
• Protein malnutrition; Protein-calorie
malnutrition; Malignant malnutrition
Definition of Kwashiorkor:
• Kwashiorkor is a form
of malnutrition that occurs when there
is not enough protein in the diet.
Signs and tests
• The physical examination may show an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly)
and general swelling.
• Tests may include:
• Arterial Blood Gas
• BUN(Blood Urea Nitrogen)
• Complete Blood Count(CBC)
• Creatinine Clearance
• Serum Creatinine
• Serum Potassium
• Total Protein Levels
What is Kwashiorkor?
Kwashiorkor is a type of
malnutrition that is most
common in areas of drought
and famine. Kwashiorkor is
due to inadequate protein in
the diet despite adequate
caloric intake. Once
some of the effects, such as
short stature and
cannot be corrected.
Children are affected by
frequently than adults. It
typically starts after the
child has been weaned and
breast milk has been
replaced with a diet low in
What are the symptoms of Kwashiorkor?
Abdominal swelling, distension or bloating
Hair and nail changes, including brittle,
reddish hair and ridged nails that are thin
Skin changes, including pigment loss, red or
purple patches, peeling, cracking, skin
sloughing, and the development of sores
Slowed growth leading to short stature
How is Kwashiorkor treated?
Common treatments for kwashiorkor include:
• Antibiotics to treat infections
• Gradual increases in dietary calories from
carbohydrates, sugars and fats
• Gradual increases in dietary protein
• Intravenous fluids to correct fluid and
• Lactase to assist in digestion of dairy
• Vitamin and mineral supplements to treat
What are the potential complications of Kwashiorkor?
In some people, especially infants and children, complications of untreated or poorly
controlled kwashiorkor can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help
minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan your health care.
Complications of kwashiorkor include:
•Anemia (low red blood cell count)
•Poor wound healing
•Skin pigmentation changes
• To prevent kwashiorkor, make
sure the diet has enough
carbohydrates, fat (at least 10
percent of total calories), and
protein (12 percent of total
• Kwashiorkor can be prevented
by including foods in your diet
that are rich in proteins, such as
meat, fish, dairy products, eggs,
soya, and beans. Treatment
involves slow increases in
calories from carbohydrates,
sugars, and fats, followed by
protein. Vitamin and mineral
supplements and enzymes to
help digest dairy products are
What is marasmus?
Marasmus is a severe form of
malnutrition that consists of
the chronic wasting away of
fat, muscle, and other tissues
in the body. Malnutrition
occurs when your body does
not get enough protein and
calories. This lack of
nutrition can range from a
shortage of certain vitamins
to complete starvation.
Marasmus is one of the most
serious forms of protein-
energy malnutrition (PEM) in
Comparison of the features of marasmus and kwashiorkor