Health Blogs

Life-threatening complications of malaria

Malaria can occur if a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites you. There are four kinds of malaria parasites that can infect humans: Plasmodium vivaxP. ovaleP. malariae, and P. falciparumP. falciparum causes a more severe form of the disease and those who contract this form of malaria have a higher risk of death. An infected mother can also pass the disease to her baby at birth.

  • Liver Failure– Malaria parasite affects the liver. In Malaria, a large number of blood cells are broken leading to an overload on the liver to clear the byproducts of this process. This leads to jaundice and liver failure.
  • Kidney Failure– Less blood and oxygen supply to the kidneys during malaria weakens them. The red blood cells are damaged by the disease which causes severe damage to the kidney tubes due to the accumulation of hemoglobin in them.
  • Respiratory Failure– Malaria may damage lungs resulting in low blood supply and deposition of fluids in the lungs. This is called respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Shock– Malaria may cause shock to the system. Multiple organs are affected in malaria, the patient develops a stage of shocks in which blood presence is low. It is known as multi-organ dyne function syndrome.
  • Cerebral Malaria– This leads to swelling of the brain and in case treatment is delayed, permanent damage to the brain occurs. In cerebral malaria, the infected red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen due to blocked swelling of the blood vessels.
  • Brain Damage – Blood sugar can be very low in cases of Malaria. This leads to brain damage which may be permanent if not treated rapidly. Enlarged spleen due to malaria is common and it may rupture with an injury. Falciparum type of Plasmodium causes brain and spleen damage the most.