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Marasmus - Protein-Malnutrition Disease

Essay by   •  September 21, 2015  •  Research Paper  •  869 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,531 Views

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  [pic 1]  Marasmus is one of the 3 serious forms of protein-malnutrition disease. The word marasmus comes from the Greek word meaning to waste away. This disease often affect/attack young children and infants which results to weight loss and dehydration. Marasmus can develop into starvation and may cause fatality. Those people who suffer from marasmus may appear bony with little muscle tissue. 


Marasmus is a form of malnutrition in which inadequate amounts of both protein and calories are consumed, resulting in an energy deficit in the body.


  • Chronic or persistent diarrhea
  • Distended abdomen
  • Dizziness
  • Dry, peeling skin
  • Emaciated appearance (unlike Kwashiorkor)
  • Failure to achieve an appropriate weight to age/size
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting or change in level of consciousness or lethargy
  • Full or partial paralysis of the legs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea


The best way to treat a child suffering from marasmus is to give him a healthy nutritious diet containing protein and calorie rich food so that the body can get enough energy to function. Method which can be used for re-feeding is the use of IV fluids, rehydration solutions administered orally, and feeding through NG tubes.






[pic 2] It is the most common form of protein nutritional deficiency. This is a severe malnutrition disease common in older children. People who suffer from kwashiorkor may appear puffy in the abdomen area due to retention of fluid. This disease happens when you lack protein in the body but the overall energy is adequate.  In other words, a child with this type of malnutrition typically takes in sufficient calories (i.e. energy), but the foods are too low in protein to support the child's health.


  • change in skin and hair color (reddish-orange color)
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • loss of muscle mass
  • failure to grow or gain weight
  • edema (swelling)
  • damaged immune system, which can lead to more frequent and severe infections
  • irritability
  • flaky rash
  • large belly that sticks out
  • shock


Kwashiorkor can be corrected by eating more proteins and calories. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. People who are in shock need immediate treatment to restore blood volume and maintain blood pressure. But remember that food must be re-introduced slowly. Calories should be given first in the form of carbohydrates, fats, and simple sugar followed by the introduction of protein. This is done to avoid problems.






[pic 3] This disease affects more than 5 million people in United States and is caused by reduced intake of proteins, calories and micronutrients which results to reduction of proteins and weakening of the skeletal muscles. This may result to starvation and death. Cachexia is also associated with diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic kidney failure, etc.



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