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ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM MALNUTRITION? HERE ARE WAYS TO PREVENT!

  • By Admin
  • 08 Aug 2017

Malnutrition is a condition when there is a deficiency of carbohydrates proteins, vitamins or minerals in the body. It results from eating a diet in which nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems. Not enough nutrients in the diet are called as under nutrition or undernourishment while too much is called over nutrition.

HOW DOES MALNUTRITION OCCUR

  • It can be a consequence of health issues such as gastroenteritis or chronic illness, especially the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
  • Malnutrition can also occur due to diarrhea, decreased nutrient absorption or intake of food, increased metabolic requirements and direct nutrient loss.
  • Parasite infections, such as intestinal worm infections (helminthiasis) are another cause of malnutrition.A leading cause of diarrhea and intestinal worm infections in children in developing countries is lack of sanitation and hygiene.
  • People may suffer from malnourishment due to abnormal nutrient loss due to a chronic illness affecting the small bowel. It may include Crohn's disease or untreated coeliac diseases.
  • In children, Marasmus and Kwashiorkor are two common diseases due to deficiency of proteins. They require aggressive therapy.

WHAT ARE THE CLINICAL SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH MALNUTRITION

  • Most common symptom is weight loss.
  • Feeling fatigue, lack of energy and strength
  • Breathlessness
  • Anemia
  • Changes in skin, hair, and nails
  • Children with malnourishment show irritability, not able to concentrate and stunted growth.

WHO ARE ALL AT RISK? AND HOW CAN WE PREVENT IT! Many families cannot afford enough nutritious foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, meat and milk, while foods and drinks high in fat, sugar, and salt are cheaper and more easily available, leading to a rapid rise in the number of children and adults who are overweight and obese, in poor as well as rich countries.

To prevent malnourishment:

  • Improve your diet intake by taking the healthy balanced diet. Increase the amount of nutrients in the body by adding more carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in the body.
  • Increase the amount of bread, rice, milk and dairy products, fruits and vegetables due to its fiber and roughage content.
  • Take meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans as they are the building blocks of the body and help in numerous body and enzyme function.
  • Supplement of vitamins and minerals are often advised.
  • Monitor your body mass index to check for improvement or responsiveness to dietary interventions.
  • It is advised to increase the supplements of iron, folic acid, vitamins and minerals in pregnancy, as women require this in higher amounts for its fetus growth.
  • Those patients, who are completely unable to take food by mouth, may be treated by feeding with a nasogastric tube. It is designed for short-term use and may be used for up to 6 weeks.
  • Some patients are treated with percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, or PEG, tube. Through this, nutrients in the form of liquids may be given. Useful in patients with esophageal cancers or other pathologies that make feeding via the mouth and esophagus difficult. These last for around 2 years and may be replaced thereafter.
  • Some patients may need to be given nutrients in the form of injections via infusion directly into the veins of the arms. This is known as parenteral nutrition.
  • Malnutrition more commonly found in children of growing age, so consult your pediatrician to assess its growth better. Otherwise, lack of nutrition may lead to physical and mental retardation and susceptibility to infections.

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