Malnutrition is a serious and common health condition which occurs when a person’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of calories and nutrients. It is caused by not having an adequate diet or a problem absorbing food/ nutrients from food. There are many reasons to it, including having reduced mobility, long-term health condition or digestion issues.
The commonest symptom of under nutrition which we can observe is unintentional weight loss, which can sometimes reach extreme too.
Some other signs are: low mood, weak muscles, an increase in illnesses/ infections, feeling tired all the time, etc.
Depending on what’s caused a person to become malnourished and how severe it is, treatment may be carried out at home or in hospital. The Cause of Malnutrition is either the lack of nutrients in your diet or disability of the body to digest and use the nutrients. It could be due to an inadequate diet or a long term illness.
Changes in diet remains the main treatment for malnutrition. If a person is undernourished, he may need to increase the nutritional content of the food, taking nutritional supplements becomes the add on.
The finest and easy way to prevent malnutrition is just to eat a healthy, balanced diet. A Well balanced and healthy diet is vital for maintaining good health and fitness, along with being diesease free. It is very important for everyone to stay healthy and for that one needs to eat a variety of foods from all the main food groups.
Medical conditions that can lead to malnutrition include:
- Any conditions that results in lack of appetite like liver disease or cancer, pain or nausea
- Any mental health conditions like schizophrenia, dementia or depression which affects one’s ability to take care of themselves.
- Any condition that requires frequent hospital admissions
- Any digestion issue that disrupts the body’s ability to digest food or even absorb nutrients, examples are IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or crohn’s disease, ulcerative collitis etc.
- Condition that makes swallowing difficult / painful is Dysphagia
- Frequent diarrhoea or vomiting
- Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa.
Some medications also may increase one’s risk of developing malnutrition.