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Kwashiorkor Disease – Symptoms and Treatment

kwashiorkor disease symptoms and treatment
HWC Team
March15/ 2016


Kwashiorkor was first named in Ghana which means “the disease of the displaced child”. It is a life threatening form of disease that is caused due to insufficient or lack in consumption of proteins. It often occurs in kids from less developed countries. Areas where this disease is mostly found –

  • Places with insufficient food supply or lack of protein based food.
  • Areas hit by Famine and drought.
  • Extremely underdeveloped or poor countries.
  • Countries with limited or no education on proper diet.

It’s not necessary that a person living in poverty will only suffer from Kwashiorkor. If your diet includes only grains and starchy vegetables, there’s a high chance you can suffer from this as well, in spite of consuming an adequate amount of calorie. Although this disease rarely occurs in developed countries, but it’s at your best interest to know all about this disease for an early prevention.

Symptoms of this Disease are

  • Change in pigment of the skin and hair colour.
  • Cessation in body growth and rapid loss of weight.
  • Loss of body muscle.
  • Severe form of Diarrhea.
  • Extreme fatigue and regular irritation.
  • Loss of emotion and feelings.
  • Critical signs of Skin Rashes.
  • Body swelling, usually swelled feet.
  • Disproportionate growth of belly.
  • Attack of shock and coma which are usually the final stages of this disease, often leading to death.

It is always advisable to look out for early symptoms so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. Although with the help of modern science and technology, cases of final stages have also been recovered, but it’s always best to start the treatment immediately after it’s recognised.

Treatment for Kwashiorkor

Early Case

If the disease is identified in an early stage, the treatment would be simpler than severe cases. Patients usually become lactose intolerant due to the prolonged period of lack in protein. Thus, protein can be incorporated in such patients by introducing plant based products like peanut butter, soya milk, etc. along with vitamins, minerals. A slow introduction of dairy products can then be introduced while keeping the patient’s tolerance level in check.

Severe Case

When the patient’s health gets severely affected, he needs to be checked in under immediate medical supervision, preferably a hospital or a clinic. The treatments under such an intensive care usually involves the following –

  • Maintaining the blood pressure and restoration of blood flow.
  • Regulating the warmth of the body while curing dehydration.
  • Initiating medicines and treatments with antibiotics followed by vitamins, minerals and other necessary nutrients.
  • Intake of sufficient calorie with carbohydrates, fats and sugar. The patient is introduced to proteins only after a certain energy level is met.
  • Food will be slowly introduced to the patient after checking his condition, to increase his strength, growth and stamina.

The cure of Kwashiorkor depends on the severity of the disease and intense treatment of the patient. He may totally recover from this disease, but nutritious and proper protein enriched diet in future will keep Kwashiorkor at bay.

HWC Team

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