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Difference Between Marasmus & Kwashiorkor

Updated: Jun 10, 2023



What is Marasmus?

Marasmus Is A Nutrition Deficiency Disorder Which Occurs Due To Not Taking Enough Calories And Nutrients Like Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates And Other Macronutrients That Our Body Requires To Function. It Can Occurs In Anyone Due To Malnutrition But The People Who Lives In Rural Places With Poverty And Lack Of Food Are More At Risk Of Getting Marasmus Especially Infants And Young Children.

What Is Kwashiorkor?

Kwashiorkor Is An Another Form Of Malnutrition Which Resulted From Due To Nutritional Deficiency In Your Diet Especially Protein. People With Insufficient Food Supply Are More Prone To Kwashiorkor This Is Also More Common Among Children. In Kwashiorkor You May Experience Swelling In Your Face, Belly And Feet.


Image Attribution: https://www.myupchar.com/en, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Causes Of Marasmus:-

1.Poverty/Shortage Of Food Or Poor Diet Not Taking Sufficient Meals.

2.Insufficient Breastfeeding To New Borns.

3.Intestinal Worms That Cause Malabsorption Of Foods Or Having Other Health Conditions That Cause Improper Food Absorption.

4.Chronic Diarrhea.

5.Anorexia Nervosa

6.Other Health Conditions That Cause Of Body Emaciation Like Hyperthyroidism.

Signs And Symptoms Of Marasmus:-

1.Wasting Of Muscle Mass And Subcutaneous Body Fat (Weight Loss).

2.Dehydration

3.Dry Skin And Sunken Eyes.

4.Brittle And Thinning Of Hair.

5.Face Look Like Bigger According To The Body.

6.Stunted And Delayed Growth.

7.Lower Immunity

8.Improper Brain Functioning And Intellectual Disability.

9.Fatigue And Weakness.


Other Symptoms:-

• Anemia

• Slow Heart Rate

• Low Blood Pressure

• Electrolyte Imbalances.

Causes Of Kwashiorkor:-

1. Deficiency Of Protein Due To Lack Of Food Or Having A Diet Which Contains Low Amount Of Protein.

2. Mostly Consuming Carbohydrates Rich Diet Like: Rice, Potatoes And Other Starchy Vegetables.

3. Health Conditions That Cause Chronic Diarrhea Or Any Parasitic Infections That Cause Malabsorption Of Nutrients From Food Especially Protein.

Or Other Health Conditions That Can Contribute:-

• HIV/AIDS.

• Cancer.

Symptoms Of Kwashiorkor:-

1. Mild Loss Of Weight And Wasting Muscle Mass.

2. Swelling In Face, Belly, Feet And Abdomen.

3. Hair Becomes Thin And Dry Also You May See Loss In Hair Natural Color.

4. Dry, Scaly, Changes In Skin Color.

5. Round Face.

6. Producing Pot Belly.

7. Delayed Growth And Development.

8. Fatigue Along With Weakness Due To Low Consumption Of Protein Body Can’t Produce Energy.

9. Lower Immunity.

Diagnosis Of Marasmus And Kwashiorkor:-

  • To Diagnose Both Of These Conditions Marasmus And Kwashiorkor Your Healthcare Expert First Examine Physical Condition And Symptoms Of Your Body Like Your Height And Weight Is Ideal For Your Age According To The Medical Chart Score And If It Is Below The Score That A Healthy Person Should Have Then They Check How Severe These Conditions It Is They Will Also Ask You About Your Diet, Lifestyle, Medical Your Family Medical History Of Illnesses And Eating Disorders.

  • Your Medical Provider May Be Performed Some Medical Lab Tests To Diagnose Both Of These Conditions Like In Marasmus – They Take Your Blood Test Which Helps To Identify The Levels Of Haemoglobin And Blood Sugar This Also Helps To Identify Any Infection Or Diseases That Causing Or Resulted From Marasmus.

And Like This In Kwashiorkor – Medical Expert Can Take Your Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test And Your Stool Sample To Identify Any Parasitic Infections That Contribute In This Condition.

Treatment Of Marasmus And Kwashiorkor:-

Both Of These Conditions Are Treatments Are Slightly Similar Because Both Of These Are Resulted Due To Nutritional Deficiency.

1. Rehydration And Nutritional Rehabilitation :- First If Dehydration Is Present They Will Rehydrate Your Body By Using Therapeutic Or Oral Hydration To Prepare The Body For Refeeding. In Refeeding They Give You A Balance Diet Which Contains Multi Nutrients Like: Protein, Fats, Carbohydrates And Other Macro-Nutrients. In Refeeding They May Also Use The Tube-Feeding Method For Those Who Are Extremely Weak Or Unable To Eat.

2. Balanced Diet - After This Once A Patient’s Health Start Improving They Give You Some Education About Nutrition And A Proper Balanced Diet To Follow Regularly To Prevent Recurrence.

3. Medications- Medications Also Requires In This To Treat Any Underlying Infection Or Diseases That May Have Contributed Or Resulted Due To Malnutrition.

Prevention of Marasmus And Kwashiorkor

Balanced Diet - Taking Enough Nutrients Like Fats, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Minerals Especially Protein For Preventing Kwashiorkor.

Hygiene And Sanitation- Maintain A Good Hygiene And Sanitation Even In What You Eat And Drink Should Be Clean.

Education- Education Means The Nutritional Knowledge Of About Multiple Foods You Eat Is It Fulfilling Your Body Nutritional Requirements Or Not. Taking Nutrients As Per Your Body Needs Helps You To Prevent These Health Conditions.

About Author

Hello My Name Is Divyanshu Verma & I Am A Passionate Blogger With The Aim To Share My Knowledge And Experiences About Health/Fitness With The Whole World Through My Blog - https://www.tipsforhealthians.com/ Where I Share Time To Time Health And Fitness-Related Content To Help And Make Things More Easier For Those People Who Facing Multiple Types Of Health-Related Issues.

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