KWASHIORKOR

By Gary M. White, MD


Kwashiorkor is a deficiency of dietary protein despite adequate carbohydrate intake, in which the skin develops superficial desquamation and erosions and may appear like "flaky paint." This condition is most common in underdeveloped countries, but may occur after gastric bypass surgery, partial gastrectomy, duodenopancreatectomy, and in patients with HIV infection and anorexia nervosa.

Workup

A broad blood analysis is in order, to include CBC, liver enzymes, creatinine, vitamin B12, ferritin, albumin, zinc (zinc deficiency), and nicotinic acid (pellagra).

Treatment

Adequate nutrition is needed.

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