The body needs various nutrients to grow and develop. The condition of lack of nutrients will not only disrupt the body's balance, but also reduce the body's resistance, trigger disease, and death. This is due to the body's failure to balance needs and maintain endurance, and both processes require adequate nutritional intake. The result is a disorder caused by serious nutritional deficiencies or known as marasmus.
What is marasmus?
Marasmus is a form of nutritional disorder caused by the body lacking protein and calories. Both of these nutrients are needed to carry out various bodily functions. When the body lacks protein and calories, various physical functions slow down and can even stop.
Marasmus is a health problem that is common in developing countries and can be experienced by children and adults. In children, especially toddlers, this condition is more likely to occur and has a higher severity. UNICEF estimates that there are at least 500,000 deaths due to marasmus in children in the world.
Lack of protein and calories can also cause kwashiorkor which is a complication of marasmus. In general, kwashiorkor occurs at the age of children and causes growth problems, especially stunting, aka a disorder of height growth. The condition of lack of nutrition at the age of a toddler will increase the risk of a child experiencing kwashiorkor.
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Marasmus can be identified from the height and weight of children
Determination of this condition is done by physical examination of height and weight. In children, it will be adjusted to the age limit. If it has a height and weight below the normal level, this is probably the initial sign of marasmic development. In addition, the behavior or activeness of a person can also be a diagnosis amplifier, where a person with marasmus will look weak and tend to be apathetic. The difficulty that may occur, especially in children, is to distinguish the initial symptoms of malnutrition in the presence of infectious diseases.
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What are the symptoms that occur when someone experiences marasmus?
Patients will experience weight loss accompanied by dehydration, then accompanied by digestive tract problems such as chronic diarrhea. If food intake is insufficient for a long time, the stomach will experience shrinkage. Marasmus is also synonymous with loss of fat and muscle mass so someone can look very thin.
In addition, marasmus often begins with hunger and some symptoms of malnutrition, including:
- Decrease body temperature
- Emotional disorders - do not show emotional expression
- Easy to get angry
- Retarding breathing
- Hands are vibrating
- Dry and rough skin
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What is the cause of marasmus?
Nutritional disorders are things that are greatly influenced by various things. Marasmus itself can be caused by several possible causes, including:
Less protein and calorie intake - is the main cause that is usually triggered by limited access to food.
Eating disorders - some types of eating disorders cause a person not to consume the calories and protein needed, such as anorexia and pica.
Health status - the condition of a person while on treatment or having an infection such as syphilis and tuberculosis causes a person to need more proper nutrition. If it is not fulfilled, it will easily experience nutritional deficiencies.
Congenital conditions - such as congenital heart disease can affect a person's consumption pattern and trigger an unbalanced intake that causes malnutrition.
Can marasmus be cured?
Marasmus is handled in stages, where the condition of dehydration in the sufferer is overcome first. Dehydration can lead to difficulty digesting food and can worsen diarrhea symptoms if the patient experiences it.
After getting better, treatment is continued with a balanced diet to meet nutritional needs. Even so, sometimes sufferers cannot eat food in a normal way so that eating and drinking is carried out in small amounts, or using infusion into veins and stomach vessels.
In addition, the history of infection in patients also needs attention. The use of antibiotics may be needed to maintain nutrition and fight disease at the same time. Recovering from an infectious disease will increase the chances of healing significantly.
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How do you prevent marasmus?
The best way to avoid marasmus is to adopt a balanced diet by filling protein from milk, fish, eggs or nuts. In addition, consumption of vegetables and fruit is needed to meet the needs of vitamins and minerals to avoid malnutrition in general.
Prevention of infection is also important because various diseases can potentially cause nutritional disorders to a person, especially if he has experienced marasmus. This can be done by maintaining personal hygiene and the environment, and ensuring that the food consumed is free from disease. In the infant age group, protection is also done by giving breast milk to meet nutritional needs and strengthen the body's resistance.