Medical Definition of Kwashiorkor

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Kwashiorkor: A childhood disease that is caused by protein deprivation. Early signs include apathy, 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 hair in dark-skinned children), and abnormal skin that darkens in irritated but not sun-exposed areas. An enlarged and protuberant belly is common. Kwashiorkor disables the immune system, rendering the affected individual susceptible to a host of infectious diseases. It is responsible for much illness and death among children worldwide. Also known as protein malnutrition and protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM).

CONTINUE SCROLLING OR CLICK HERE FOR RELATED ARTICLE
Reviewed on 12/12/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors