Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a broad term which refers to both under-nutrition and over- nutrition. Malnutrition can be defined as the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced consumption of nutrients. Several different nutrition disorders may develop, depending on which nutrients are lacking or consumed in excess.

CAUSES—

  • Alcoholism
  • Cannot go out to buy foods
  • Depression
  •  Diseases like; anorexia nervosa or bulimia, celiac disease, crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, dysphagia, gastritis, pancreatitis, serious bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • High food prices
  • Improper diet (when recovering from an illness)
  • Lack of breastfeeding
  • Shortage of food
  • Unable to prepare food
  • Undue food distribution

Symptoms And Signs–

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest infection
  • Decreased mobility and stamina as a result of muscle wasting
  • Feelings of apathy
  • Fertility problems
  • Hypothermia
  • Poor libido
  • Recurrent infections and slow recovery(weakened immunity)
  • Reduced muscle and tissue mass
  • Respiratory failure
  • Tiredness
  • Wounds that take longer to heal

Investigations—

BAPEN’s (British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition’s) MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool) is a quick to use screening tool to identify those at risk of malnutrition.

MUST 5-step plan:

Step 1 – Measure height and weight to get a BMI (body mass index) score.

Step 2 – Note percentage unplanned weight loss and score.

Step 3 – Establish acute disease (any underlying illness, such as a psychological condition) effect and score.

Step 4 – Add scores from steps 1, 2 and 3 together to obtain overall risk of malnutrition.

Step 5 – Use management guidelines and/or local policy to develop care plan.

Treatment—–

  1. Underlying illness/condition needs to be treated
  2. Specially planned healthy, nutritious diet i.e. enough carbohydrates, proteins, fats and diary, as well as vitamins and minerals.
  3. Additional nutritional supplements
  4. Artificial nutritional support

Malnutrition Diseases–

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