A spectrum of disorders, especially in children, due to inadequate feeding. Marasmus is severe wasting and can also occur in adults; it is the result of a food intake inadequate to meet energy expenditure. Kwashiorkor affects only young children and includes severe oedema, fatty infiltration of the liver, and a sooty dermatitis; it is likely that deficiency of antioxidant nutrients and the stress of infection may be involved. Marasmic kwashiorkor is the most severe form of protein-energy malnutrition in children, with weight for height less than 60% of that expected, and with oedema and other signs of kwashiorkor. Emaciation, similar to that seen in marasmus, occurs in patients with advanced cancer, AIDS, and other chronic inflammatory diseases; in this case it is known as cachexia.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.