Complications of Malaria


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Malaria is a disease that can cause complications in a matter of hours or days. Malaria is easily treatable but complications make treatment more difficult and cause more health problems. The disease becomes much more severe if these complications occur as it is harder to deal with both the complications and the disease.

There is a good chance that malaria will cause anaemia because it is affecting the red blood cells. Anaemia is the loss of red blood cells and therefore you do not have enough iron in your body. The parasites multiply in red blood cells and then cause them to burst, so therefore they damage a large proportion of these cells and cause anaemia. If you are anaemic you will feel drowsy and tired as well as weak and even faint.

A dangerous complication is cerebral anaemia and it is the most common cause of death. The parasite has caused so much damage to the red blood cells that there is insufficient blood flow to the brain and the brain can swell up. This can lead to seizures and a coma so therefore malaria can cause life-threatening conditions. This complication can also alter your mental state.  Malaria can also cause breathing problems because it can cause fluid on the lungs.

Malaria can affect a number of areas in the body because it is primarily in the blood system. It also targets the liver when it first enters the body; hence there is a chance of liver failure and jaundice. Other complications include kidney failure, dehydration, swelling or rupture of the spleen, pulmonary oedema, low blood sugar or shock. Complications are much more serious in some groups than others. They are more severe in pregnant women, young children, babies and the elderly.


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