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Why do ppl suffered from famine always has a beer belly?

  1. Oct 11, 2004 #1
    why do ppl suffered from famine always has a beer belly?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2004 #2
    The belly swells because of malnutrition. As the gut needs food and is not getting it the fat reserve is used and when there is none of that is it like being stung, it swells.

    Any real reasons behind it would be appreciated. :smile:

    The Bob (2004 ©)
     
  4. Oct 11, 2004 #3
    Err, I've never heard anything like what The Bob said.

    What I learned in my parasitology class is the following. Areas with famine, which are generally developing (third world) nations. They, besides having famine, generally have poor sanitation, poor disease control, basically poor everything that you would take for granted in the U.S.

    The big bellies are parasites living in their gut. Many parasites inhabit different parts of the intestine. The big bellies are due to worm types of parasites, they get huge! They sit in the intestines and consume (i.e., parasitize) the (little) food that the people do eat. A bad thing about that is that the parasites can consume certain vitamins that the people need, so the people have to eat more to be able to get the vitamins or whatnot, and by doing so they further feed the parasites.

    Parasites are *bad* things!
     
  5. Oct 14, 2004 #4

    adrenaline

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    The swollen belly is due to ascites. A starving person's serum or blood protein levels are so low from the malnutrition the osmotic pressure pushes the fluid out of the vascular system into the intraperitoneal cavity . In other words, hypoalbuminemia and reduced plasma oncotic pressure favor the extravasation of fluid from the plasma to the peritoneal cavity.

    http://www.ecureme.com/emyhealth/data/Ascites.asp

    Of course the most common cause of ascites in this country is not malnutrition but cirrosis of the liver
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2004
  6. Oct 15, 2004 #5
    Yeah, but those people aren't just starving. They are eating, but they have to eat so much food because they are infected with parasites. Ascites is a byproduct of being infected with the parasites. Malnutrition is a byproduct of being infected with the parasites.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2004 #6

    russ_watters

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    No, aychamo, there really is a lot of starvation going on there. (and adrenaline is a doctor)
     
  8. Oct 18, 2004 #7
    i thought the swelling of the belly had to do with kwashiorkor.... the lack of protein carriers that transport fat out of the liver causes the belly to bulge with a fatty liver...
     
  9. Oct 18, 2004 #8
    Parasites can consume the vitamins and what not that a person needs, thus making the person need to consume more food. We are talking about thousands of worms in the persons stomach that can be several feet long.

    Look at the ascites found with advanced schistosomiasis. (Roberts, Foundations of Parasitology, 247)
     
  10. Oct 18, 2004 #9

    adrenaline

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    Parasites may cause ascites through malnutrition and certainly some infestations due to sheer bulk (such as ascariasis) can cause distended stomachs. On the other hand, A tapeworm can be 8 feet long and cause no stomach distention if the malnutrition has not reached a critical threshold. However, although parasitemia can cause malnutrition and stomach distention either directly or indirectly, much of the cases of ascites in famine states are still caused mostly by the hypoalbuminemia.
     
  11. Oct 18, 2004 #10

    adrenaline

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    As for kwashiorkor, it is a syndrome mostly in children due to inadequate protein intake (that can happen due to famine)but mostly refers to a syndrome due to a diet that is adequate in calories but lacking in protien. It is prevalent in overpopulated parts of the world where the diet consists mainly of starchy vegetables, particularly in sections of Africa, Central and South America, and S Asia. These kids do not get enough milk nor meat and develop kwashiorkor.
    It is a syndrome, and as such, a disease that is a constellation of symptoms and signs . These include the swollen and severely bloated abdomen but also various skin changes resulting in a reddish discoloration of the hair and skin in black African children. Other symptoms include severe diarrhea, enlarged fatty liver, atrophy of muscles and glands, mental apathy, and generally retarded development.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2004
  12. Oct 28, 2004 #11
    So could the fluid be surgically evacuated?
     
  13. Nov 2, 2004 #12

    adrenaline

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    You can do a paracentesis and drain the fluid but it comes back wiithin 1-2 days unless the underlying problem is corrected. (In this case, hypoosmolar serum due to the protein deficiency)
     
  14. Nov 2, 2004 #13
    Can someone post some gruesome photographs of parasites?
     
  15. Nov 9, 2004 #14
    I was always under the impression that the bulge was due to the body eating away at the muscles, including the stomach muscles, causing a lack of support of the intestines, stomach, liver, etc.
     
  16. Nov 11, 2004 #15
    What are the implications of surgically removing the fluid in the stomach? Severe dehydration? Would the osmotic pressure in the vascular system be equilibriated upon removal of fluid?
     
  17. Nov 11, 2004 #16
    I think my dad has cirrosis of the liver, his belly is like your describing. Not fat but sticking out and he is an alcaholic. I can't talk him out of drinking is there other forms of treatment to help?
     
  18. Nov 11, 2004 #17

    adrenaline

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    You are close. It can be quite dangerous doing large volume paracentesis or drainage of large amounts of ascites from the stomach for the very reason you alluded to. When the ascites is removed, the body trys to equillibriate and more fluid comes out of the circlulatory system (which is hypotonic) into the peritoneal cavity and dangerously low blood pressure and shock can result from the sudden shift in fluid from the circulatory system into the stomach. In cirrosis clinics where these large volume paracentisis are done regularly, the patient is infused with a few units of albumin in an effort to reduce the oncotic pressure (increases the osmolarity of his serum) during the withdrawel of ascitic fluid.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2004
  19. Nov 11, 2004 #18
    What chemicals or hormones trigger albumin translation? Are there any foods that are high in these inducers? Could these inducers, or albumin itself be incorporated into vegetables/roots/pills that can be distributed to third world countries (in terms of costs of mass production)?

    Sorry for all these questions, I'm just curious.
     
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