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What is Marasmus?

Marasmus is a form of severe malnutrition characterized by energy deficiency. In children, it occurs at ages between 0 – 1 year, whereas kwashiorkor occurrence increases after 18 months. In that case, their body weight gets reduced to less than 62% of the average body weight for their age. It is also can occur in any child’s body if she or he has pneumonia, anemia, malaria, meningitis, or other pathological condition like diarrhea. This disease can take a severe step like death if the proper step is not taken in time.

Causes of Marasmus

  • a severe deficiency of protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and lipids.
  • Viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections are also major causes of this disorder.
  • Children, older adults, and people with a weak immune system are more prone to marasmus.

Other causes include:

  • Poverty
  • Starvation
  • Famine or unavailability of food
  • Lack of education about nutritional requirements.
  • Intake of medicines that interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

Symptoms of Marasmus

  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss.
  • Dehydration.
  • Lack of energy
  • Stunted growth.
  • Chronic Diarrhoea.
  • Shrinkage of Stomach.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Dry skin and brittle hair.
  • Underweight or loss of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat.

Risk Factors

  • The people living in developing countries are more at risk of contracting marasmus.
  • The famine and poverty struck areas have a larger percentage of children suffering from marasmus.
  • If the infants are not breastfed by nursing mothers due to malnutrition, the risk of marasmus increases in children.
  • Insufficient medical care and high disease rates are other reasons that increase the risk of marasmus in the population.

Prevention
It can be a life-threatening condition if not detected and treated early. The recovery process here is slow and often takes months based on the condition of a patient. The following tips help prevent it.

  • Eating nutritious food.
  • Drinking adequate water.
  • Maintaining a balanced diet.