Marasmus is a type of severe malnutrition. This disease can affect anyone but children are most commonly affected by it. Marasmus is usually seen in third world countries where there is scarcity of good food. If left untreated, this condition can progress to cause life threatening complications. However, there are treatment options available to treat Marasmus.
Being underweight is the primary presenting feature of Marasmus. Children with this condition have loss of muscle mass. They tend to have dry brittle skin which is also one of the presenting features of Marasmus.
A child with Marasmus will experience chronic diarrhea, frequent respiratory infections, intellectual regression, and growth retardation. The child may look older than the real age and may not have the energy or the enthusiasm for playing or doing any work.
What Is The Primary Cause For Marasmus?
Malnutrition is the primary cause for Marasmus. This condition is seen in children who do not ingest enough food required by the body for normal functioning. This is the reason as to why Marasmus is seen in countries known for malnutrition due to scarcity of food. A child with Marasmus will have deficiencies in iron, iodine, zinc, and vitamin A.
There are also certain risk factors which predisposes an individual for a condition like Marasmus:
Being in a third world country or areas where there are a lot of famines and poverty to an extent that food becomes a scarcity. In such cases, even the mothers of infants may not make enough food to feed their babies which may in turn cause Marasmus in the infant as well.
Additionally, bacteria, viral and parasitic infections cause children to eat less which may further lead to malnutrition causing Marasmus. Thus areas of countries where infection rate is very high also have increased cases of Marasmus.