Kwashiorkor

Kwashiorkor

About Kwashiorkor

Kwashiorkor is an acute form of childhood protein-energy malnutrition characterized by edema, irritability, anorexia, ulcerating dermatoses, and an enlarged liver with fatty infiltrates. The insufficient protein consumption, but with sufficient calorie intake, distinguishing it from marasmus. Kwashiorkor cases occurs in areas of famine or poor food supply. Cases in the developed world are rare. Jamaican pediatrician Dr. Cicely Williams introduced the name into the medical community in her 1935 Lancet article. The name is derived from the Ga language of coastal Ghana, translated as 'the sickness the baby gets when the new baby comes', and reflecting the development of the condition in an older child who has been weaned from the breast when a younger sibling comes. Breast milk contains proteins and amino acids vital to a child's growth.

Contributions by Wawot1, 142.22.120.2, and Barbara Shack.