Severe malnutrition with muscle and fat wasting.


Marasmus is a condition of severe malnutrition from lack of calories. It includes muscle and fat wasting because the body breaks down these tissues for energy. Marasmus can result in death. It often occurs in infants but can occur in adults too.


Marasmus symptoms include slow height growth, loss of muscle, prominent facial bones, and loose and wrinkled skin.


Treatment typically includes a gradual increase in fluids and food over a period of up to several weeks. It is important not to suddenly increase food and fluids. Introducing food and fluids too quickly can cause refeeding syndrome, a dangerous complication of electrolyte imbalance that can lead to death.