Complications in Malaria

Friday, 30/09/2016

It is a well-accepted fact that malaria is a life threatening disease. Even after malaria is treated there are several complications that come up. The parasites causing malaria enter the persons liver where it matures which would directly affect the liver and may lead to many other complications. After this period, they enter the bloodstream and infect the red blood cells. The showing of symptoms depends on the parasite. In some cases the parasite remains dormant for a while after entering the blood in some cases the symptoms start to show up within 10 days.

The symptoms of this disease may vary from moderate to severe. The common symptoms of malaria are – Chills (that may be moderate or severe), high fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting and convulsions. Malaria can be treated through anti — malarial drugs which are prescribed by the doctor in accordance to the types of parasite, severity of malaria and also if the parasite is not resistant to the drug.
Malaria even after being treated, can make way for many complications ahead.

Malaria if not treated timely can lead to many complications. Mainly children, pregnant women and older adults suffering from malaria are at a risk.

Complications of this disease are:-


• In some cases, malaria can affect the brain. Such cases are collectively known as Cerebral Malaria.

• This can cause swelling in brain and in some cases permanent brain damage, leading to death or a state of coma.

• It can also cause seizures from time to time, confusion, thinking becomes hard and the patient becomes increasingly tired and lazy.

• Paralysis can also be another symptom of this complication.


• Convulsion follows Cerebral Malaria.

• Convulsion with malaria shows a cerebral dysfunction (an improper brain functioning).

• This generally is caused due to the sudden change in the body temperature of a child.


• Anemia is another complication caused due to Malaria.

• This is caused due to the heavy loss of red blood cells. When the parasite matures it enters our bloodstream and start infecting our red blood cells which leads to their destruction of the cells. Due to the lack of red blood cells it becomes difficult for them to carry the oxygen to the other body organs and muscles. This causes a state of anemia. Dehydration, drowsiness are the most common symptoms of anemia.


• Pulmonary edema basically is related to the lungs.

• This is usually caused by heart failure. When the heart is not able to pump effectively caused by excessive fluid in the lungs. People suffering from this complication would finding it difficult to breathe.

• This needs urgent treatment or it can be fatal.


• Malaria generally causes Hemolysis (massive destruction of red blood cells).

• The loss of red blood cells causes anemia which basically means the lack of haemoglobin content in the body. Patient suffering from black water fever generally have a dark colored urine.

• This doesn’t simply mean a kidney failure but this is accompanied with kidney failure and can have grave consequences.


• The parasite causing malaria first enters the liver and mature there. This caused problems in the liver.

• The liver weakens and doesn’t function properly. The patient may also suffer from jaundice.


• This complication is generally seen among children.

• The child suffers from breathing problem and respiratory distress.


• The mother may have a premature baby.

• The cases of miscarriage and still birth are also high in case of malaria.

• The growth of the baby may stop inside the womb of the pregnant mother.

• The weight of the baby at the time of birth might be very low.

• Complications may also lead to the death of the mother.


• In certain cases, the infected RBC’s may enter the kidney and cause kidney failure.

• This generally occurs in adults.


• The patient might have a low blood sugar.

Apart from these complications, there are also other symptoms like shock, fluid imbalance, etc.

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