Disorders Of Nutritional Deficiency

Ritesh  Sharma By Ritesh Sharma, 21st Aug 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/9qzotbqv/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

Nutritional deficiency develops when the food is poor in proteins and carbohydrates. Protein is required for synthesis of protoplasm and hence growth while carbohydrate is required for supply of energy. Therefore, intake of diet deficient in protein and carbohydrate results in protein energy malnutrition ( PEM ). This is more common in infants and children because they require these nutrients in high amount for growth and development of body, brain and other vital organs.


It is a PEM disorder caused by undernourishment due to diet being deficient in carbohydrate with or without deficiency of proteins. It is found in case of infants below the age of 1 year.

Cause :

Marasmus results due to :

a) Insufficiency of mother’s milk

b) Early termination of breast feeding

c) Use of diluted milk and

d) Insufficient weaning diet

Symptoms :

Marasmus infants are :

a) Underweight, short statured with thin shrivelled face

b) Dry wrinkled skin due to absence of subcutaneous fat

c) Sunken eyes

d) Prominent Ribs

e) Thin arms, legs, hands and feet

f) Wasting of muscles

g) Irritable nature with poor digestion and

h) Repeated infections including diarrhoea

Cure :

This disorder can be cured through :

a) Providing the infants whole milk in appropriate quantity

b) Balanced weaning diet and

c) Prevention of infection


It is a PEM disorder that occurs in children of 1-5 years age on account of deficient supply of protein with or without deficiency of carbohydrates. Protein deficiency occurs in children because of the higher requirement, 23.5 g/kg body weight as opposed to 1g/kg body weight for adults.

Causes :

Low protein intake can occur due to :

1) Greater dependence upon pulses for proteins supply

2) Reduced intake of milk

3) Dislike of solid food

4) Aflatoxin contamination of food

5) It is quite common in areas where maize is used as a staple cereal because the cereal is deficient in two amino acids

Kwashiorkor is African word which means :

1) Rejected child

2) Evil spirit that attacks the first child when second is borne

Symptoms :

The various symptoms of Kwashiorkor are :

1) Reduced growth and body weight

2) Protruded belly

3) Enlarged and fatty liver

4) Skin pigmentation

5) Loss of hair pigmentation

6) Cracking of skin

7) Thin and curved legs

8) Oedema of limb terminals

9) Bulging eyes

10) Anaemia

11) Intolerance of fat

12) Reduced appetite and

13) Repeated diarrhoea

Prevention :

Kwashiorkor can be prevented or overcome by :

1) Clean food free from aflatoxin contamination

2) Supply of protein rich diet or protein supplement with reduced fat intake in early stages of treatment and

3) Prevention of infection

Also read : AIDS, Cancer, Typhoid, Malaria, Filariasis, Sexually transmitted diseases, Adolescence and drug abuse, Common cold, dengue and chikungunya and Medical Termination Of Pregnancy

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Kwashiorkor, Marasmus, Protein Deficiency Diseases

Meet the author

author avatar Ritesh Sharma
I am doing graduation in zoology and aspires to become a doctor. I will focus on social and health issues. ' I also write at <a href="http://www.expertscolumn.com">Expertscolumn.com</a> '

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