What is Protein Energy Malnutrition?
What is Protein Energy Malnutrition? Protein Energy Malnutrition is a condition in which the body lacks energy and protein intake. Without protein and other adequate energy sources, the organ function will be disrupted, the body is easily injured or injured, and body growth becomes imperfect. A person is exposed to protein energy malnutrition or has a body mass index of about 17 to 18.5.
There are two types of conditions that characterize malnutrition disorders of protein energy, namely kwashiorkor and marasmus. Kwashiorkor is a severe protein deficiency, in which there is a deficiency of food intake that becomes a source of protein. Kwashiorkor is characterized by fluid buildup (edema) and weakness in the limbs. While marasmus is a severe condition of severe malnutrition in which the body has deficiency of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and other essential nutrients. Marasmus is characterized by low body weight.
Malnutrition protein energy suffered by infants, children, or the elderly and potentially lead to disability or death. Treatment of this condition can be done by providing additional nutrients to improve levels of electrolytes and body fluids that are not normal. In addition, the main thing to do is treat the symptoms suffered, such as infection.
Symptoms of Protein Energy Malnutrition
A number of symptoms that can signal the occurrence of protein energy malnutrition in a person are:
- The body looks weak and tired.
- The body temperature becomes lower.
- Dry skin.
- Hair loss.
- Easily annoyed.
- Changes in attitude, such as anxiety, apathy, or lack of attention.
- Breathing becomes slower.
- Legs and hands become stiff or tingling.
In marasmus, specific symptoms that characterize the condition may include weight loss, gastric shrinkage, and dehydration. Meanwhile, the specific symptoms seen in people with kwashiorkor are edema (the body becomes swollen by fluid buildup), growth and weight gain are inhibited, as well as abdominal swelling.
Causes of Protein Energy Malnutrition
Malnutrition of protein energy can be caused by social factors or because of underlying health conditions.
Social factors that can trigger the occurrence of protein energy malnutrition are:
- Famine, or lack of food.
- Incomplete breastfeeding period in children.
- Dependence on the help of others to eat.
While the health problems that can lead to the occurrence of this condition include:
- Eating disorders, such as bulimia.
- Taking drugs that can affect the absorption of nutrients in the body.
- HIV infection.
- Parasitic and gastrointestinal infections.
- Congenital heart disease.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Chronic renal failure.
Diagnosis of Protein Energy Malnutrition
Diagnosis of protein energy malnutrition usually begins with findings on physical examination, ie measurement of weight and height. Then the doctor will ask for diet, history of the disease (including history of eating disorders), and drugs consumed. Several investigations can also be performed to confirm the diagnosis and look for causes of abnormalities, including:
- Blood tests, to check blood glucose levels, peripheral blood smear.
- Examination of hemoglobin, electrolytes, and serum albumin.
- Examination of urine and bacterial culture.
- Examination of stool to see the existence of parasites.
- Test HIV.
- Skin prick test to see any allergies.
Treatment of Protein Energy Malnutrition
The treatment of protein energy malnutrition usually begins by improving the levels of electrolytes and body fluids that are not normal. In addition, treatment of infection should also be done, if the patient has an infection. If the symptoms experienced by the patient is severe enough, then needed care in the hospital.
The second stage of handling cases of protein energy malnutrition is to provide nutritional intake through dietary therapy. Food is usually given foods based milk. In addition, doctors will also provide multivitamin supplements or liquid protein supplements, as well as certain drugs to improve appetite, if necessary.
Post-treatment, patients will be encouraged to keep doing routine checks to the doctor so that the development of the patient’s condition can remain monitored until completely healed.