WHY KWASHIORKOR IS CALLED AS RED BOY
We all know about the six primary colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. And we all can easily spot a child suffering from Kwashiorkor just by looking at the child's hair. Yes, a child suffering from Kwashiorkor is also called a "Red Boy". Let's dive deep into the condition to know why.
What Is Kwashiorkor?
Kwashiorkor is a severe form of malnutrition caused primarily by a deficiency of protein in the diet. It is characterized by stunted growth, edema (swelling), and skin discoloration. Kwashiorkor is most commonly seen in children between the ages of 1 and 3 years, but it can also occur in adults.
Why Is Kwashiorkor Called “Red Boy”?
Many people wonder, "Why is Kwashiorkor called 'Red Boy'?" Well, this is because one of the most distinctive features of Kwashiorkor is the reddish-brown discoloration of the hair and skin, which is caused by a lack of the amino acid lysine.
Lysine is essential for the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin and hair their color. Besides, the skin discoloration in Kwashiorkor may also be due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the skin, which is a yellow pigment produced during the breakdown of red blood cells.
Other Signs and Symptoms of Kwashiorkor
- Edema: This is the swelling of the body's tissues, especially the face, feet, and legs.
- Stunted growth: Children with Kwashiorkor often have a very low weight for their age and are much shorter than children of the same age.
- Skin changes: The skin may become dry, flaky, and cracked. It may also lose its elasticity and become loose and hanging.
- Hair changes: The hair may become dry, brittle, and discolored. It may also start to fall out.
- General weakness: Children with Kwashiorkor may feel very tired and weak. They may also have difficulty concentrating and paying attention.
- Behavioral changes: Children with Kwashiorkor may become irritable, withdrawn, or apathetic. They may also lose their appetite and stop eating.
Treatment for Kwashiorkor
The goal of treatment for Kwashiorkor is to provide the child with the nutrients they need to recover. This may involve:
- Providing a diet high in protein and other nutrients: This may include foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, and lentils.
- Supplements: Children with Kwashiorkor may also need to take supplements to provide them with the nutrients they are lacking.
- Medical treatment: Children with Kwashiorkor may also need medical treatment to address complications such as infections, dehydration, and anemia.
Prevention of Kwashiorkor
The best way to prevent Kwashiorkor is to ensure that children have access to a diet that is high in protein and other nutrients. This may include foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, and lentils. Children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Kwashiorkor is a serious condition, but it can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed and treated early. If you think your child may have Kwashiorkor, talk to your doctor right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main cause of Kwashiorkor?
A deficiency of protein in the diet.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of Kwashiorkor?
Edema, stunted growth, skin discoloration, hair changes, general weakness, and behavioral changes.
How is Kwashiorkor treated?
By providing a diet high in protein and other nutrients, supplements, and medical treatment if necessary.
How can Kwashiorkor be prevented?
By ensuring that children have access to a diet that is high in protein and other nutrients.
What is the prognosis for children with Kwashiorkor?
If diagnosed and treated early, the prognosis is good. However, if left untreated, Kwashiorkor can be fatal.