- The word kwashiorkor comes from the Ivory Coast. It means the deposed (no longer suckled) child. Kwashiorkor is a childhood disease due to protein deprivation. Early signs are vague: apathy (indifference), lethargy (drowsiness) and irritability. More advanced signs are poor growth, lack of stamina, loss of muscle mass, swelling, abnormal hair (sparse, thin, often streaky red or gray in dark-skinned children) and abnormal skin (darkening in irritated but not sun-exposed areas). Kwashiorkor disables the immune system so the child is susceptible to a host of infectious diseases. Kwashiorkor is responsible for much morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) among children worldwide. Also known as protein malnutrition. and protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM).
* * *A disease seen originally in Africans, particularly children 1–3 years old, due to dietary deficiency, particularly of protein; characterized by marked hypoalbuminemia, anemia, edema, pot belly, depigmentation of the skin, loss of hair or change in hair color to red, and bulky stools containing undigested food; fatty changes in the cells of the liver, atrophy of the acinar cells of the pancreas, and hyalinization of the renal glomeruli are found postmortem. SYN: infantile pellagra, malignant malnutrition. [Ga, a language of Ghana, red boy or displaced child]- marasmic k. severe protein-calorie malnutrition characterized by extreme weight loss, weakness, and features of k..
* * *kwa·shi·or·kor .kwäsh-ē-'ȯr-kȯr, -ȯ(r)-'kȯr n severe malnutrition chiefly affecting young children esp. of impoverished regions that is characterized by failure to grow and develop, changes in the pigmentation of the skin and hair, edema, fatty degeneration of the liver, anemia, and apathy and is caused by a diet excessively high in carbohydrate and extremely low in protein compare PELLAGRA
* * *n.a form of malnutrition due to a diet deficient in protein and energy-producing foods, common among certain African tribes. Kwashiorkor develops when, after prolonged breast feeding, the child is weaned onto an inadequate traditional family diet. The diet is such that it is physically impossible for the child to consume the required quantity in order to obtain sufficient protein and energy. Kwashiorkor is most common in children between the ages of one and three years. The symptoms are oedema, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, general discomfort, and apathy; the child fails to thrive and there is usually associated gastrointestinal infection.
* * *kwash·i·or·kor (kwahsh″e-orґkor) [â€œcondition seen in the displaced childâ€ in the language of the Ga people of Ghana] a form of protein-energy malnutrition produced by severe protein deficiency; caloric intake may be adequate but is usually also deficient. It is characterized by retarded growth, changes in skin and hair pigment, edema, enlarged abdomen, immunodeficiency, and pathologic changes in the liver, including fatty infiltration, necrosis, and fibrosis. Other findings are mental apathy, atrophy of the pancreas, gastrointestinal disorders, anemia, low serum albumin, and dermatoses. The skin of the limbs and back may have dark thickened patches, which may desquamate, leaving pink, almost raw surfaces. Cf. marasmus.
Medical dictionary. 2011.