Food provides the energy, essential fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements which our bodies require to maintain health and to help restore health after disease occurs. If the body does not fully receive daily all of the essential categories of nutrients listed, each organ system of the body will tend to function less efficiently and at levels significantly less than optimally. This nutritional lack is called malnutrition and may be manifested by a wide number of significant symptoms ranging from lack of energy and fatigue to death, which occurs with advanced stages of malnutrition. Malnutrition is a disease which commonly occurs throughout the world and is not limited to the wasted, starvation picture portrayed in undeveloped, third world cultures.
Sign up now Senior health: How to prevent and detect malnutrition Malnutrition is a serious senior health issue. Know the warning signs and how to help an older loved one avoid poor nutrition.
By Mayo Clinic Staff Good nutrition is critical to overall health and well-being — yet many older adults are at risk of inadequate nutrition. Know the causes and signs of nutrition problems in older adults, as well as steps you can take to ensure a nutrient-rich diet for an older loved one.
Problems caused by malnutrition Malnutrition in older adults can lead to various health concerns, including: A Malnutrition disease process immune system, which increases the risk of infections Poor wound healing Muscle weakness and decreased bone mass, which can lead to falls and fractures A higher risk of hospitalization An increased risk of death In addition, malnutrition can lead to further disinterest in eating or lack of appetite — which only makes the problem worse.
How malnutrition begins The causes of malnutrition might seem straightforward — too little food or a diet lacking in nutrients.
In reality, though, malnutrition is often caused by a combination of physical, social and psychological issues. Older adults often have health problems, such as dementia or dental issues, that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating. Other factors that might play a role include a chronic illness, use of certain medications, difficulty swallowing or absorbing nutrients, a recent hospitalization, a diminished sense of taste or smell, or abdominal issues, such as pain or bloating.
Dietary restrictions — such as limits on salt, fat, protein or sugar — can help manage certain medical conditions, but might also contribute to inadequate eating. Some older adults might have trouble affording groceries, especially if they're taking expensive medications.
Older adults who eat alone might not enjoy meals as before, causing them to lose interest in cooking and eating. Limited access to food. Many older adults do not drive and may not have access to food or the right types of food.
Grief, loneliness, failing health, lack of mobility and other factors might contribute to depression — causing loss of appetite. Too much alcohol can interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Nutrients might also be lacking if alcohol is substituted for meals.
How to spot malnutrition The signs of malnutrition in older adults can be tough to spot, especially in people who don't seem at risk — but uncovering problems at the earliest stage can help prevent complications. Observe your loved one's eating habits. Spend time with your loved one during meals at home, not just on special occasions.
If your loved one lives alone, find out who buys his or her food. If your loved one is in a hospital or long-term care facility, visit during mealtimes.
Watch for weight loss. Help your loved one monitor his or her weight at home. You might also watch for other signs of weight loss, such as changes in how clothing fits. Be alert to other red flags. In addition to weight loss, malnutrition can cause poor wound healing and dental difficulties.
It may also cause weakness, which can result in falls. Know your loved one's medications. Many drugs affect appetite, digestion and nutrient absorption.Definition Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a potentially fatal body-depletion disorder.
It is the leading cause of death in children in developing countries. Malnutrition basically means "bad nutrition"; it is when there is a disparity between the amount of food and nutrients that the body needs for proper growth and health and the amount taken in.
Learn about malnutrition symptoms, related tests and treatments. Global Burden of Disease Study published Executive summary - The Lancet.
13 DECEMBER - LONDON - The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD ) is the largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of .
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For the original VASRD text of the VASRD Principles, conditions of the Musculoskeletal System, the Sensory. One Nurse At A Time modules are intended to help nurses understand disease processes that are uncommon in our work practices at home. They are intended to . Malnutrition is a condition in which a person's diet is inadequate to meet minimum daily requirements for nutrients such as proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.