Also Known As: Kwashiorkor, protein defiency

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 presence of edema caused by poor nutrition defines kwashiorkor. Kwashiorkor was[when?] thought to be caused by insufficient protein consumption but with sufficient calorie intake, distinguishing it from marasmus. More recently,[when?]micronutrient and antioxidant deficiencies have come to be recognized as contributory.[citation needed] Cases in the developed world are rare.

Jamaican pediatrician Dr. Cicely D. 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",[citation needed] 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. In at-risk populations, kwashiorkor may develop after a mother weans her child from breast milk, replacing it with a diet high in carbohydrates, especially starches, but deficient in protein.

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