What causes marasmus?

Marasmus is a form of malnutrition in which inadequate amounts of both protein and calories are consumed, resulting in an energy deficit in the body. Marasmus occurs most often in developing nations or in countries where poverty, along with inadequate food supplies and contaminated water, are prevalent. Marasmus often affects children in regions with high rates of poverty, such as Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. However, malnutrition and marasmus can also occur in people in developed countries.

What are the risk factors for marasmus?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing marasmus. Not all people with risk factors will get marasmus. Risk factors for marasmus include:

  • Chronic hunger
  • Contaminated water supplies
  • Inadequate food supplies
  • Other vitamin deficiencies (vitamin A, E or K)
  • Poor, unbalanced diet lacking in grains, fruits and vegetables, and protein

Reducing your risk of marasmus

A nutritious, well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and protein will reduce the risk of malnutrition and any related marasmus. If the marasmus is related to an underlying disease, then seek appropriate treatment for that disease.

You may be able to lower your risk of maramus by:

  • Eating a nutritious, well-balance diet
  • Discussing symptoms with your health care provider
  • Drinking properly sanitized water
  • Following the recommended treatment course for infections
INTRODUCTION

What is marasmus?

Marasmus is a severe form of malnutrition that consists of the chronic wasting away of fat, muscle, and other tissues in the body. Malnutrition occurs when your body does not get enough protein and calories. This lack of nutrition can range from a shortage of certain vitamins to complete starvation. Marasmus is one of the most serious forms of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) in the world.
Read more about marasmusintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of marasmus?

Symptoms of marasmus can range from mild to severe depending on the degree of malnutrition.

Common symptoms of marasmus

You may experience marasmus symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times any of these marasmus symptoms can be severe:

TREATMENTS

How is marasmus treated?

A nutritious, well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and protein will reduce the risk of malnutrition and any related marasmus.

Treatment of marasmus involves a special feeding and rehydration plan and close medical observation to prevent and manage complications of malnutrition. Pediatric nutrition rehabilitation centers have been established in some... Read more about marasmustreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Food, Nutrition and Diet