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Acta Paediatr Hung. 1984;25(1-2):127-30.

The main causes of death in malnutrition.


The great killers in the developing countries are the classical contagious diseases and diarrhoea. The high incidence of these diseases is mainly due to the enormously increased exposure to infectious agents in a milieu of incredibly low hygienic standards. Malnutrition on the other hand, is responsible for the long duration and the often malignant course of these diseases. Undermined immunity in malnutrition may lead to septicaemia. Diarrhoea, besides the danger of hyponatraemia, hypokalaemia, acceleration of the wasting process may lead to hypovolaemic shock. Other types of circulatory disturbance are caused by very low serum albumin values, by the overloading of the wasted heart by fluid, by hight salt or calorie intake. Further dangers are hypoglycaemia and hypothermia. The briefly summarized dangers can rather exceptionally also be encountered in the advanced countries. Malnutrition in these parts of the world is brought about by organic diseases, by intractable diarrhoea or by psychologic disturbances.

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