Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. People who are in shock need immediate treatment to restore blood volume and maintain blood pressure.
Calories are given first in the form of carbohydrates, simple sugars, and fats. Proteins are started after other sources of calories have already provided energy. Vitamin and mineral supplements are essential.
Since the person will have been without much food for a long period of time, eating can cause problems, especially if the calories are too high at first. Food must be reintroduced slowly. Carbohydrates are given first to supply energy, followed by protein foods.
Many malnourished children will develop intolerance to milk sugar (lactose intolerance). They will need to be given supplements with the enzyme lactase so that they can tolerate milk products.
Getting treatment early generally leads to good results. Treating kwashiorkor in its late stages will improve the child's general health. However, the child may be left with permanent physical and mental problems. If treatment is not given or comes too late, this condition is life-threatening.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if your child has symptoms of kwashiorkor.
To prevent kwashiorkor, make sure the diet has enough carbohydrates, fat (at least 10 percent of total calories), and protein (12 percent of total calories).