Note on Some Diseases Caused by Malnutrition

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Some diseases caused by malnutrition are marasmus, kwashiorkor, anaemia, night blindness, scurvy, rickets and goitre.

Marasmus (Sukenas)

Marasmus is protein-energy malnutrition (PEM). It makes people lean and thin because of the lack of enough food and essential nutrients (both carbohydrates and protein) for a long time. The skin of children wrinkles due to the loss of fat.


  1. Lean and thin limb but swollen belly
  2. Wrinkled face and shunken eyes
  3. Loss of immunity power
  4. Frequent diarrhoea also
  5. Problem in growth
  6. Loss of appetite despite hunger

Kwashiorkor (Fukenas)

Kwashiorkor is a disease caused by the deficiency of protein. Children are mainly suffered from it who lack enough protein after terminating the breast-feeding. It is called kwashiorkor because the term kwashiorkor denotes the disease of children removed from the lap of the mother.


  1. Cracking skin, descaling and wound
  2. Loss of appetite and vomiting
  3. Weakness and loss of immunity power
  4. Frequent diarrhoea
  5. Wrinkled skin of hip and leg
  6. Retardation of physical growth and underweight of age
  7. Initially swelling (oedema) in leg, then the whole body due to retention of water

Prevention of Marasmus and Kwashiorkor

  1. Encourage breastfeeding
  2. Provide sufficient nutrition to pregnant and breastfeeding mother
  3. Increase community awareness on nutrition
  4. Provide proper vaccination against killer diseases
  5. Get physical check up and measurement of height and weight regularly
  6. Provide homemade food and seasonal fruits instead of expensive instant food with thelaw nutritive value.


Lack of haemoglobin and red blood cells (RBC) causes anaemia. Mostly, children and pregnant women suffer from it. Lack of iron and vitamin in the food as well as worms like hookworm and roundworm can also cause it.


  1. Frequent weeping
  2. Lack of vigour and feeling of tiredness
  3. Loss of appetite and headache
  4. Feeling of dizziness
  5. Loss of weight
  6. Difficulty in breathing

Preventive Measures

  1. Prevent bleeding
  2. Provide food rich in iron such as liver, meat, fish, egg, pulse, beans, etc. to the patients.
  3. Intake of balanced diet
  4. Provide food rich in vitamin C like Amala, guava, lemon and orange to the patients.
  5. Not walking onbarefoot to avoid hookworm.

Night blindness

Lack of vitamin A causes night blindness. If the mother lacks vitamin A in her food during her pregnancy, her child also suffers from this disease. Mainly, under 5 years old children and pregnant woman suffer from this disease.


  1. Unable to see in dim light and evening
  2. Loss of vision even in bright sunlight
  3. Dried and rough eye

Preventive measures

  1. Encourage mother for breastfeeding
  2. Adopt proper hygiene behaviour
  3. Immunise the children completely
  4. Provide oral doses of vitamin A capsules.
  5. Provide foods rich in vitamin A such as green vegetables, pumpkin, carrots, eggs, milk, fish, butter and fruits like papaya, mango, orange, etc.


Scurvy is a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin C. People of any age can suffer from this disease. This disease mainly affects on gum and cause inflammation and bleeding.


  1. Swelling and bleeding gums
  2. Teeth may fall due to softness of gum
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Anaemia
  5. Irritation
  6. Weakness and tiredness
  7. Delayed wound healing

Preventive measures

  1. Eat foods rich in vitamin C
  2. Do not overcook green vegetables to protect vitamin C.
  3. Intake regularly the source of vitamin C like Amala, mango, guava, green leafy vegetables, etc
  4. Take vitamin C tablet to cure it.


Deficiency of vitamin D in our food leads to rickets, which mainly suffers small children between the age of 6 months and two years. When the body lacks vitamin D, it cannot absorb the calcium and phosphorus which are necessary for the growth and development of bones and teeth.


  1. Curved legs
  2. Pigeon chest
  3. Swelling in wrist and ankle
  4. Delayed physical growth
  5. Enlarged and elongated head
  6. Backache

Preventive measures

  1. Include food materials rich in vitamin D like eggs, butter, fish, milk, fat, oil, liver, etc.
  2. Provide food rich in calcium and phosphorus
  3. Massage the body of baby with oil in sunshine
  4. Consult the physician to cure the patient and use vitamin D tablets


Goitre is an unnecessary growth of thyroid gland, which appears in the neck. When our food lacks iodine, the gland enlarges to produce necessary thyroxin. As a result, neck grows large.


  1. Swelling in neck
  2. Increase in the weight of thyroid gland from 25 to 500 grams
  3. Difficulty in breathing
  4. Retarded physical and mental development
  5. Dwarfness if not treated timely

Preventive measures

  1. Take enough food rich in iodine like sea fish, seaweeds, iodized salt, etc.
  2. Consult doctor for its treatment
  3. If not treated timely, it needs surgical operation.
  4. Measures of preserving micronutrients of food
  5. Stop overcooked the green vegetables in oil or ghee.
  6. Rice should not be washed too much before cooking. The food should be cooked by covering it with a lid.
  7. Foods must not fry and put much spice.
  8. Wash vegetable before cutting it but do not wash after cutting into small pieces.
  9. Peel the potato very lightly.
  10. Do not use soda and colour unnecessarily as food additives.

Unhygienic foods

Unhygienic food is that which contains much sugar, salt, fat and oil, inedible chemicals. They cause the increase in the level of sugar and fat in the blood, fatness, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, etc.

According to WHO, if we can increase the fruit and green vegetables on our food, 19 % of stomach and colon cancer can be controlled. Similarly, 31% heart diseases and 11% strokes can be prevented. The number of non-communicable diseases certainly increases in Nepal because of excessive production and use of unhygienic foods like noodles, Kurkure, biscuits, chocolates, etc.

  • Marasmus is protein-energy malnutrition (PEM).
  • Kwashiorkor is a disease caused by the deficiency of protein.
  • Lack of haemoglobin and red blood cells (RBC) causes anaemia.
  • Lack of vitamin A causes night blindness.
  • Deficiency of vitamin D in our food leads to rickets, which mainly suffers small children between the age of 6 months and two years.
  • Unhygienic food is that which contains much sugar, salt, fat and oil, inedible chemicals.

Very Short Questions

Lack of enough iodine in our body causes goiter.

Rickets is caused due to lack of vitamin-D, calcium and phosphorus in our body.

Lack of vitamin C causes scurvy.

Night blindness is caused due to the lack of vitamin A.

Anemia is the condition of health in which there are few red blood cells in our body, caused by lack of iron.

The use of vegetables and fruits that are rich in iron and folic acid is the main method of prevent anemia.

Marasmus is protein-energy malnutrition. This is caused in children due to acute shortage of essential carbohydrate and protein. Kwashiorkor is caused in children deposed from mother's milk due to acute shortage of protein.

  1. Lean and thin body
  2. Loss of weight
  3. Lack of appetite
  4. Wrinkles on face
  5. Diarrhea
  1. Heavy swelling body due to retention of water
  2. Physical retardation and underweight
Preventive measures:
  1. Raise awareness in birth spacing and child care
  2. Provide food rich in energy and protein
  3. Encourage breastfeeding

  • What is the full form of PEM?

    Protein-Energy Malnutrition
    Protein-Energy Mortality
    Protect-Energy Malnutrition
    Protein-Electric Malnutrition
  • Lack of haemoglobin and red blood cells (RBC) causes ______.

  • Deficiency of vitamin D in our food leads to ______.

  • Lack of vitamin A causes ______.

    night blindness
  • Scurvy mainly affects on ______.

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Arun mukhiya

Ask any queries on this note.different between heart attack and strokes in 5 points

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