Malnutrition – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Malnutrition – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. In addition, malnutrition happens when a person does not consume enough food. It can exist if the person has a poor diet that gives them the wrong balance of basic food groups. Obese people, who consume more calories than they need, can suffer from malnutrition  in malnutrition if their diet  does not have the nutrients their body needs for good health.

Poor diet  can lead to a deficiency of vitamins or minerals, among other essential substances, sometimes resulting in scurvy – a condition where an individual has a deficiency of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Although scurvy is a very rare disease, it still occurs in some patients, usually elderly people, alcoholics, or those living on a diet  devoid of fresh fruits and vegetables. Likewise, children or children who are on special or poor diets for any number of economic or social reasons may be prone to scurvy.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, it is estimated that around three million people in the UK are affected by malnutrition ( Malnutrition ).

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( FAO), the number of people suffering from malnutrition worldwide was 923 million in 2007, an increase of over 80 million from the base period 1990-92.

Causes of Malnutrition: These are the main causes of Malnutrition :

  • Lack of specific nutrients in your diet . Even a lack of a vitamin can lead to malnutrition;
  • An  unbalanced diet ;
  • Some medical problems such as malabsorption syndromes and cancer.

Symptoms of Malnutrition: These are the main symptoms of Malnutrition :

  • Involuntary weight loss , losing 5-10% or more of weight for three to six months is one of the main signs of malnutrition
  • Low body weight, people with a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5 are at risk for malnutrition (use the BMI calculator to calculate your BMI)
  • Lack of interest in eating and drinking
  • Feeling tired all the time;
  • become weaker;
  • Getting sick frequently and taking a long time to recover;
  • In children, not growing at the predicted rate or not gaining weight as would normally be expected.

Malnutrition Diagnoses: These are the main ways to diagnose Malnutrition :

  • Complete blood count;
  • Sedimentation rate;
  • Serum electrolytes;
  • Urine analysis;
  • Blood culture .

Stool specimens should be obtained if the child has a history of abnormal stools or stool patterns or if the family uses an unreliable or questionable water source. The most useful laboratory tests for assessing malnutrition in a child are hematology and protein status studies.

  • Hematological studies;
  • Hematologic studies should include a complete blood count with red blood cell indices and a peripheral smear.
  • Protein studies.

Measures of protein nutritional status include levels of the following:

  • Albumin Serum;
  • Prealbumin;
  • transferrin;
  • Creatinine;
  • Urea nitrogen in the blood ;
  • Additional laboratory studies.

Treatments for Malnutrition: Treatment for Malnutrition  will depend on the person’s general health and the severity of their condition. The first dietary advice is usually:

  • Eat “fortified” foods that are high in calories and protein.
  • Healthy snacks between meals;
  • Consume drinks with a lot of calories.

Some people also need support for underlying issues such as limited mobility, for example home care or occupational therapy. If a child is malnourished, their family may need advice and support to address the underlying reasons why this can happen.

If these initial dietary changes aren’t enough, a doctor, nurse, or nutritionist may also suggest taking extra nutrients in the form of nutritional drinks or supplements. If the person has difficulty eating that cannot be managed by making changes such as eating soft foods or liquids, other treatments may be recommended, such as:

  • A feeding tube , this can be passed through the nose and into the stomach, or inserted directly into the stomach through the skin of the belly;
  • Nutrition that is given directly into a vein.

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