|Classification and external resources|
Keshan disease is a congestive cardiomyopathy caused by a combination of dietary deficiency of selenium and the presence of a mutated strain of Coxsackievirus, named after Keshan County of Heilongjiang province, Northeast China, where symptoms were first noted. These symptoms were later found prevalent in a wide belt extending from northeast to southwest China, all due to selenium-deficient soil. The disease peaked in 1960-1970, claiming thousands of lives.
Often fatal, the disease afflicts children and women of child bearing age, characterized by heart failure and pulmonary edema. Over decades, Supplementation with selenium reduced this affliction.
It has previously been linked to the coxsackie B virus. Current research suggests that the lack of selenium results in a more virulent strain of the coxsackievirus becoming the dominant viral species present in the population of virus, but the mechanism of this selection event is presently unclear.
The disease got its name from the province it was originally discovered in, Keshan, China. Since its discovery, it can also be found in New Zealand and Finland. Keshan disease results from a selenium deficiency which is a nutrient we receive in our diet from eating foods that were grown in selenium enriched soils. Because of that factor, Keshan deficiency can be found anywhere that the level of selenium present in the soil is low. An individual with Keshan disease will have an abnormally large heart. Keshan disease can also lead to higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and strokes. In addition, an individual can experience eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, cataracts, alcoholism, and infections.
It is hard to consider Keshan disease extremely preventable because the only way to ensure that the individual is getting enough selenium would be to test the soil around where they live. However one way that your selenium intake can be controlled would be to try and intake foods that have been enriched with selenium such as onions, canned tuna, beef, spaghetti w/ meat sauce, cod, turkey, beef chuck roast, chicken breast, enriched pasta, egg, cottage cheese, oatmeal, white or brown rice, garlic. If the individual lives in an area that does not have selenium enriched soil they should consider taking a dietary supplement. To determine whether or not an individual is selenium deficient, they should consider asking their doctor for a blood test. If the individual is exhibiting the symptoms of Keshan disease see your doctor immediately for advice.
The treatment for Keshan disease is selenium supplementation. The recommended amounts are fifty-five micrograms of selenium per day for adult men and women, sixty micrograms a day for women during pregnancy and seventy micrograms per day for women during after pregnancy. A doctor may insist that if a man is sexual active, he may have to take up to seventy micrograms of selenium per day. A doctor may also recommend that the individual take Vitamin E; selenium and Vitamin E are medically linked and seem to work to together. An individual will also be advised to have a diet that includes seafood, meats such as kidney, and liver, and some grains and seeds; all of these are high in selenium. Brewer’s yeast and wheat germ both contain high levels of selenium. Garlic, onions, mushroom, broccoli, tomatoes, radishes, and Swiss chard may be good sources of selenium if the soil in which they are grown contains it. An individual will have to be monitored once they begin to take the selenium supplements, due to the fact that too much of it can cause balding, intestinal distress, weakness, and slow mental functioning. Individuals in China with the disease, treat it with a herb called Astragalus, which accumulates selenium from the soil.
Living with Keshan disease 
The individual should talk to their doctor if their symptoms worsen- it is extremely important to visit a doctor, to prevent any major complications of this condition.
Avoid alcohol - avoid all alcohol during the duration of the illness, because alcohol puts pressure on an individuals heart, which is already having enough difficulty, (and body) and can make the symptoms worse Foods rich in selenium - eat foods rich in selenium to help the individuals heart heal more quickly (in addition to any supplements they may also be taking).
Healthier diet -eat healthy fresh, unprocessed foods, with lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and some fish and lean meat to provide more vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants which can all help your heart. A diet lower in saturated fats and processed (junk) foods is also an excellent idea to give yourself a more healthy heart. Monitor side effects to medications - if the individual is prescribed any type of medication(s), it may be helpful if the individual can monitor any side effects they have (if they are present) and see their doctor if the side effects are more than just the mildly common ones.
Rest - sleep as much as possible, because the individuals heart is not functioning as well as normal and your body needs all its energy to get healthy. In the case of mild Keshan's disease caused by a viral agent, the individuals doctor will advise them to have complete rest (and adequate fluids) for a specific period to help their body's immune system fight the viral infection and heal.
Supplements - an individual will most likely be prescribed selenium supplements (in the form of selenomethionine) or have injections of this mineral, so it would be helpful if they could take their supplements at the same time each day, to prevent forgetting a dose.
Surgery - if surgery has been advised (implants, stents or full heart transplant) the individual cardiac specialist will advise you about the pre- and post-operative care that they will need to undergo and how to best take care of themselves during this time, to avoid complications or worsening of any symptoms or health.
See also 
- Beck MA, Levander OA, Handy J (May 2003). "Selenium deficiency and viral infection". J. Nutr. 133 (5 Suppl 1): 1463S–7S. PMID 12730444.
- Ren LQ, Li XJ, Li GS, Zhao ZT, Sun B, Sun F (November 2004). "Coxsackievirus B3 infection and its mutation in Keshan disease". World J. Gastroenterol. 10 (22): 3299–302. PMID 15484304.
- "Vitamins Diary". VitaminsDiary.com. Retrieved 11/08/11.
- "Vital Health Zone". Retrieved 11/08/11.