Marasmus Symptoms, Risk factors and Causes

Marasmus Symptoms, Risk factors and Causes


We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

Marasmus Symptoms, Risk factors and Causes

Marasmus is a severe form of malnutrition (actually protein energy malnutrition), which cause wastage of muscles, fats and other body tissues. Marasmus occurs due to chronic lack of protein as well as calorie in the diet. Lack of nutrition (protein as well as calories and other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals). Marasmus is the most severe form of protein energy malnutrition (PEM) one can see in the world (another common protein energy malnutrition seen is known as kwashiorkor).

Marasmus is seen in the underdeveloped and poor regions of the world, where there is lack of adequate food. Marasmus usually occurs among poorest of the poor in the world, who cannot afford a meal a day for poverty. Marasmus affect most commonly infants of below one year of age. The body weight of the child is less than 60% of normal expected body weight for the child, in terms of age and height/length.

What are the symptoms of marasmus?

The symptoms of marasmus varies according to severity of the disease, as well as its association with other disease or medical condition (if associated with other medical condition, it should also be treated along with marasmus) and various other factors. Symptoms of marasmus include:

  • Extreme weakness and fatigue
  • Distended/bloated abdomen
  • Dryness of skin and peeling of skin
  • Emaciated look
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Low body weight compare to age/height

A patient of marasmus may have all the above mentioned symptoms or may have a few symptoms in varying combination.

What are the risk factors of marasmus?

The risk factors of marasmus are many, however not all people with risk factors of marasmus develop the disease. The risk factors of marasmus are:

  • Chronic hunger due to poverty.
  • Unhealthy and contaminated drinking water supply.
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as deficiency of vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and protein.
  • Consumption of diet which is not balanced, for long duration.

What are the causes of marasmus?

Marasmus is a type of protein energy malnutrition where there is inadequate intake of both protein and calorie for long duration. This result in negative energy balance and wastage of muscles, fats and other body tissues. Due to lack of protein, immunity and anabolic functions are compromised. Marasmus most commonly affect children, although adults are not immune to it. War, famine and inadequate food supply are common causes of marasmus. Although poverty is the main culprit of marasmus, it can occur in developed countries also for various other reasons risk factors that are associated with the disease.

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