Tag Archives: kwashiorkor

Chest 91; Dry Days

9 Oct
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Chest 91; Dry Days

Inland Queensland is in the grip of a prolonged drought. The normally fertile grazing country is dry as a bone and cattle graziers are struggling to keep their herds fed. Some are having to shoot cattle to reduce numbers. Those that are left are thin and weak. When the rains do start they will bring some relief but their own problems too, due to the sudden change of diet, and onset of disease in immune-compromised cattle.

I have tried to link a hot dry outback image with the lean cattle and the X-ray.

The situation links with the child’s X-ray from Africa with kwashiorkor . This is a condition I became familiar with during my time in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The name kwashiorkor means “the sickness the baby gets when the new baby comes”. It is a form of protein-energy malnutrition due partly to poverty, premature weaning from breast feeding, and too early introduction of solids that have carbohydrates but insufficient protein. Once a baby develops this disease the liver is damaged and repair is slow. Nutrition cannot be introduced quickly or the breakdown of protein overwhelms the liver and can be fatal.

 

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