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Why kwashiorkor in children

  1. Aug 12, 2007 #1
    Why does kwashiorkor affect mostly children and not as many adults in areas with starchy foods and protein deficiency?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2007 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    I found an article on protein-energy malnutrition (which includes kwashiorkor) that might give some insight:

    It seems this disorder often appears around the time of weaning, which would relate to a quick reduction in protein intake, but it looks like there are many factors considered.
  4. Aug 13, 2007 #3
    Thank you for your reply. I do have this article already printed out. Could an adults' greater muscle mass to draw upon in times of protein deficiencies be a factor? My thoughts are directed toward the damage done in a child with undiagnosed celiac and what the long term implications could be for the gluten free compliant child after the intestinal damage has healed. I'm also wondering if there is any correlation between the maladaptive response to starvation with kwashiorkor and the distended abdomen in some celiac patients.
  5. Aug 20, 2007 #4
    That is marasmus (severe lack of protein AND energy) that occurs before age of 1 and occurs around the time of weaning...

    Kwashiorkor is only severe lack of protein... The energy intake is adequate... You tend to get this ~10 years old..

    You can get kwashior-masrasmus... The distinction isn't always clear... The symptoms for both are different...

    Adults don't need as much energy since they aren't growing and they have increased energy supplies... They are much more resistance to protein deficiency and starvation diseases...

    Btw, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease when i was a baby... I had a moon face and a fat belly like in kwashiorkor... It's to do with lack of protein absorption... not enough albumin (blood protein) is produced... Not enough reabsorption of tissue fluid into cappilary and so you get oedema (tissue swelling) - causes moon face and swollen belly... The good news is that as long as you stick to a gluten free diet then there isn't any problems... I can vouch for that...

    What I find strange about it is why do so many people 'suddenly' seem to develop it during middle age...
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
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