Marasmus

From Academic Kids

Marasmus is a childhood nutritional disorder characterised by protein and energy deficiency.

Marasmus is a form of severe Protein-Energy Malnutrition (PEM), the others being kwashiorkor and cachexia (the most common form of PEM in the developed world).

A child with marasmus looks emaciated and the body weight may reduce to less than 80% of the normal weight for that height.

The signs are essentially characteristic of protein-energy deficiency: dry skin, loose skin folds hanging over the glutei, axillae etc. Drastic loss of adipose tissue from normal areas of fat deposits like buttocks and thighs. The child is fretful, irritable and may show voracious appetite. There may be alternate bands of pigmented and depigmented hair (flag sign) and flaky paint appearance of skin due to peeling.

It is essential to treat not only the symptoms but also the complications of the disorder like infections, dehydration and circulation disorders, which are frequently lethal and lead to high mortality if ignored.

Folk medicine

In some parts of Mozambique, Marasmus is thought to be caused by a malignant spirit sitting on the chest of a child. The only effective way for the child to be cured is to send him or her to live with the local witch doctor for a period of about two weeks.da:Marasmus de:Marasmus

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