Kwashiorkor Disease

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Kwashiorkor is a disease that is caused by malnutrition when there is not enough protein in the diet. Other names for Kwashiorkor are protein malnutrition, protein-calorie malnutrition, and malignant malnutrition (Kwashiorkor, 2011). Kwashiorkor is most common in areas where there is famine, limited food supply, and low levels of education. This disease can occur when people do not understand how to eat a proper diet. In very poor countries, this disease is more common. Often Kwashiorkor occurs during a natural disaster or during political unrest because of the lack of food which leads to malnutrition (Kwashiorkor, 2011). In this paper I will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and nursing interventions.

Kwashiorkor disease is very rare in children in the United States and when it does occur, severe neglect and child abuse is suspected (The New York Times, 2008). Children get a number of vital nutrients and amino acids through their mothers’ milk. If the mother is eating reasonably well, her child should stay healthy. Once a child is weaned, however, a new source of these vital nutrients needs to be obtained (Kwashiorkor, 2011). Kwashiorkor develops in young children and some adults because many people in developing nations eat starch heavy diets, without the protein sources and fresh fruits and vegetables that are essential. Symptoms

Early symptoms of kwashiorkor include irritability and fatigue. Kwashiorkor symptoms may occur over time and as the condition continues, additional symptoms may occur. Symptoms of Kwashiorkor disease include: changes in skin pigment, coma, decreased muscle mass, diarrhea, failure to gain weight and grow, fatigue, hair changes in color or texture, increased and more severe infections due to damaged immune system, irritability, protruding large belly, lethargy, apathy, loss of muscle mass, dermatitis, shock, and edema (Kwashiorkor, 2011). Kwashiorkor can be life threatening. Some of these...
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