Protein Energy Malnutrition
Protein energy malnutrition is a type of under nutrition and is very severe and pathetic condition mostly arrived when consuming protein poor diet or the dependency for energy needs is mainly on carbohydrates. It means that when a person is just taking carbohydrates in his whole diet rather than a balanced diet in which the carbohydrate share is not more than 65%, he may at the risk of developing protein energy malnutrition. In this condition, when the energy requirements are not met by the body from the food, the body oxidizing the body protein and the person may suffers from kwashiorkor and marasmus. In this article, the information will be about the pathetic conditions or diseases developed due to PEM and other factors of this condition.
Types of protein energy malnutrition:
Protein energy malnutrition may be:
Primary PEM; that is caused by inadequate nutrient intake
Secondary PEM; it may be due to the drugs or disorders that may interfere with the nutrient intake.
Protein energy malnutrition of this type occurs mostly in children and elderly people because they may lack access to the proper nutrients. It may be due to some causes that are:
In elderly people due to depression
Fasting or Anorexia Nervosa
Primary PEM have usually two common forms:
It is a pathetic condition that usually develops due to the abandonment of breastfeeding, when the younger sibling is born and the elder child is displaced from the breast. Due to protein deficiency stunting occurs. The skin flakes and may ulcerate. Characteristic features of this pathetic condition are edema e.g fluid accumulation mainly in abdomen, fatty liver, liver enlargement, depigmentation of hair and skin and wasting etc. it usually occur due to inadequate protein intake. It may result due to acute illness such as gastroenteritis. Kwashiorkor normally occurs in children older than in marasmus.
Symptoms may range from:
Peripheral Edema due to the fluid leak through cell membrane
Muscle tone and strength diminished
Hair becomes brittle and easy to pull out
Skin becomes pale, sad, and apathetic
Prone to infection, rapid heart rate, excess fluid in lungs, pneumonia, and water and electrolyte imbalances
Moon like face symmetry
It causes the weight loss and depletion of fat and muscle. It is one extreme form of protein-energy malnutrition in developing countries. It usually occurs due to inadequate intake of kilocalories (carbohydrates). The major symptoms include severe muscle wasting with little or no edema, minimal subcutaneous fat and abnormal levels of albumin in serum. The child may develop diarrhea and stomach swelling. The child becomes more susceptible to infections. It usually occurs in early months of life, usually within the age of one to two years.
Symptoms of marasmus may range from:
Child becomes Frail and have emaciated appearance
Weakened and apathetic appearance
Many cannot stand without support
Look old with wrinkled skin
Hair is thin, dry, and lacks sheen
Low Body temperature and low blood pressure
Prone to dehydration, infections, and unnecessary blood clotting
Secondary protein energy malnutrition:
Secondary PEM may results from the following:
Disorders that impair the GI function: The disorders that can interfere with the process of digestion and absorption or lymphatic transport of nutrients e.g the disorders of enteritis, enteropathy etc can result into secondary PEM.
Wasting disorders: in some disorders there is the excess release of cytokine that may result into secondary PEM e.g in AIDs, cancer and renal failure. Cardiac cachexia may also be one of the leading wasting disorders. These disorders can cut down the appetite or may impair metabolism of nutrients.
Increased metabolic demands: The conditions that enhance the metabolic demands e.g infections, hyperthyroidism, burns, trauma and surgery etc may also result in secondary PEM.
Medical and nutritional treatment can reduce the mortality rate. The treatment may include:
Should be treated slowly and carefully implemented
Oral feeding is recommended
Severe dehydration and nutrient imbalance should be addressed
Gradually provide nutritionally dense carbohydrates and high-quality proteins
Protein supplements can also be given for this purpose e.g whey protein supplements and amino acid supplements etc.
Possible avoidance of lactose ( due to diarrhea)
Introduce physical activity
So, in a nutshell, the balanced diet with adequate and standard share of nutrients can only be the assurance of healthy life. So to prevent developing such pathetic conditions e.g PEM you must have check on your diet.
Protein Energy Malnutrition