What is Marasmus & What Causes It?
Marasmus is a term given commonly to children who are severely malnourished. Adults who do not eat vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates required by the body also can develop Marasmus.
Marasmus usually occurs in those parts pf the world where there is severe scarcity of food like countries in East Africa, parts of Asia and Latin America. Marasmus if left untreated can be a threat to the life of the affected individual.
There are several forms of malnutrition other than Marasmus. The most common types of malnutrition are those where the individual has severe deficiencies in the levels of iron, iodine, zinc, and vitamin A.
What Does Marasmus Feel Like?
A child or an individual with suboptimal weight for age is the primary presenting feature of Marasmus. Children with Marasmus lose plenty of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat as a result of lack of food. This results in the child having dry and brittle skin which is also a presenting feature of Marasmus.
Children with Marasmus may also experience chronic diarrhea, frequent respiratory infections, lack of intellectual growth, and lack of physical growth. Such children in most of the cases look older than their actual age.
Children suffering from Marasmus also tend to have little to no energy and doing simple tasks will be a challenge for them. They also tend to be short tempered and irritable as a result of this condition; however this feature is mostly seen in children with Kwashiorkor which is another form of Marasmus.
In conclusion, Marasmus is a condition caused by severe nutritional deficiency due to lack of adequate food intake. This condition is seen mostly in children, although severely malnourished adults may also get it.
Marasmus is normally seen in third world countries like east Africa and some parts of Asia where there is severe scarcity of food. Being underweight is the primary presenting feature of this condition.
Children with Marasmus also look older than their age. Brittle and dry skin due to loss of subcutaneous fat is also one of the primary presenting features of Marasmus.