Keshan disease is a condition caused by deficiency of the essential mineral selenium. Keshan Disease, inflammation of the heart muscle caused by a Coxsackie virus.
Keshan disease is an endemic form of dilated cardiomyopathy which is found in areas of China where dietary selenium deficiency is common.
It was first observed in Keshan province in China and since has been found elsewhere (including New Zealand and Finland) in areas where the selenium level in the soil is low.
Keshan disease may be the result of several interacting causes including a dominant nutritional deficiency (selenium), other nutritional factors (vitamin E, polyunsaturated fatty acids), and an infectious agent (virus).
Selenium deficiency may permit the mutation of normally benign Coxsackie viruses into cardiotoxic strains.
Treatment of Keshan disease
Treatment is selenium supplementation. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is currently 55 micrograms of selenium per day for adult men and women, 60 micrograms per day for women during pregnancy and 70 micrograms per day for women during lactation.