Marasmus: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications

What Is Marasmus?

Marasmus is an extremely severe type of nutrition disorder in which there is significant wasting of fats, muscles, and tissues of the body. Malnutrition is the term given to a condition in which the body does not get adequate amounts of nutrients and calories, which can range from inadequate nutrition to absolute starvation. Marasmus is considered as one of the serious types of malnutrition across the globe. Marasmus is pretty rare in United States and is usually found in children in Africa, Latin America, and Southern part of Asia where the countries are not appropriately developed and there is severe economical and political crisis. Marasmus is also caused by consuming contaminated water. The symptoms of Marasmus are variable and depend on the severity of the disease. Some of its symptoms are chronic diarrhea, lethargy, significant weight loss.


What Are The Causes Of Marasmus?

Marasmus as stated is a severe nutritional disorder resulting due to inadequate intake of proteins and calories causing severe energy crisis in the body to which the body is not able to cope up to and starts using available resources present in the body for producing energy thus causing wasting of muscles and tissues and resulting in symptoms of Marasmus.

What Are The Risk Factors For Marasmus?

Some Of The Risk Factors For Marasmus Are:

  • Chronic starvation
  • Adulterated water
  • Inadequate food intake
  • Vitamin deficiencies.

What Are The Symptoms Of Marasmus?

Symptoms Of Marasmus Include:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Abdominal distention
  • Persistent dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Failure to thrive
  • Severe lethargy.

Some Of The Potential Serious Symptoms Of Marasmus Are:

  • Fainting or alteration of awareness
  • Complete or partial paralysis of the lower extremities
  • Problems with bladder and bowel control
  • Persistent vomiting.

How Is Marasmus Diagnosed?

Usually Marasmus is diagnosed by just clinical examination and further more where this disease is more prevalent the healthcare system is not state of the art and most of the laboratory testing is not available. In case if laboratory testing is available, the following tests might confirm the diagnosis of Marasmus:

  • Blood glucose levels
  • Hemoglobin levels
  • Urinalysis
  • Stool tests
  • Electrolyte test.

What Are The Treatments For Marasmus?

The best way to treat Marasmus is to give the affected individual a healthy and nutritious diet which is rich in proteins and calories so that the body gets sufficient energy to function. There are specific methods of refeeding and rehydrating the affected individual so as to prevent complications arising out of refeeding. The methods generally used for refeeding are use of IV fluids, rehydration solutions administered orally, and feeding through NG tubes.

What Are The Potential Complications Of Marasmus?

Some Of The Complications Of Marasmus Are:

  • Lack of proper growth in children
  • Joint deformities
  • Severe weakness
  • Permanent vision loss
  • Organ failure
  • Coma.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 27, 2018

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