About Hunger Edema, its Causes and Treatment

About Hunger Edema, its Causes and Treatment

Hunger is a condition that is included in the category of malnutrition or malnutrition, where the body is malnourished for a long time. This condition makes a person vulnerable to severe infections and suffering from various diseases that can lead to death.

Hunger is a common term to describe two forms of malnutrition, namely kwashiorkor and marasmus. Malnutrition occurs when the body lacks essential nutrients, which include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Kwashiorkor is a condition when the body lacks protein, while marasmus occurs when the body lacks energy and protein. Both fall into the category of protein-energy malnutrition. In patients with edema of hunger, the condition of kwashiorkor and marasmus can occur simultaneously (the condition of kwashiorkor marasmus).

Risk Factors for the Occurrence of Hunger

Hunger swelling can be caused by several things. Among others are:
  • Starving
  • Food shortage.
  • Living in poverty.
  • Not given breast milk.
  • Live in a remote area and it is very difficult to get food.
  • Food shortages due to war or natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods.
In addition to these various factors, starvation can also occur because a person has an eating disorder, takes drugs that interfere with nutrient absorption, or certain medical conditions such as mental disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.

How Can Hungry Edema Occur?

Malnutrition can be experienced by anyone, from children, adults, even pregnant women. Lack of one of the essential nutrients can be called malnutrition.

In the case of starvation, nutritional deficiencies have lasted for quite a long time. People who do not get enough food and often experience hunger, in the long term can experience malnutrition. If malnutrition is left unchecked, it can progress to starvation.

Characteristics of Hungry Edema

Some of the symptoms and signs of starvation are a body that is too thin and short, stunted growth and development, weakness, and low intellectual abilities.

Other typical signs that occur in kwashiorkor are swelling of the body caused by fluid accumulation, enlarged abdomen, weight and height do not increase, changes in skin and hair color (skin becomes dry, and hair turns white or reddish yellow like corn silk). While the hallmarks of marasmus malnutrition are abdominal shrinkage, lack of weight, and chronic diarrhea.

Hungry Edema Treatment

The management of starvation depends on the patient's health condition and the severity of the malnutrition experienced. The treatment provided includes medical care, nutrition and fluids to prevent dehydration, a clean environment, and other supporting social services.

Patients with malnutrition who still have an appetite can generally do outpatient treatment. Treatment can be in the form of feeding specially formulated, as well as monitoring the patient's condition by health workers. Meanwhile, patients with malnutrition with certain medical conditions or do not have an appetite, require inpatient treatment at the hospital. In addition to soft or liquid foods, these patients require special formula milk supplemented with vitamins and minerals, as well as and treatment for infections or complications that occur.

The diet applied to malnourished patients is usually in the form of providing foods that contain lots of calories with protein, carbohydrates, and fats, with additional snacks between meals, adequate fluids, and vitamin and mineral supplements.

Feeding needs to be done gradually according to the doctor's recommendation, which is adjusted to the patient's body's ability to absorb nutrients. This aims to prevent complications due to the sudden administration of too much nutrition.

Hunger Edema Prevention

The best way to prevent starvation is to prevent malnutrition, by adopting a healthy and balanced diet, including:
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit.
  • Expand to eat foods that contain starch, such as bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta.
  • Consume milk and its processed products.
  • Eat meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and other protein sources.
  • Weigh regularly to monitor nutritional status.
Getting treatment and treatment as soon as possible is an important key to recovering from starvation, to save lives and improve the patient's quality of life in the long term. Starvation left untreated can lead to mental disability, permanent physical disability, and premature death.

Given that malnutrition and starvation are not only caused by hunger, people with certain medical conditions that can increase the risk of malnutrition are advised to consult a doctor.