01 February 2011

Malnutrition in Older Adults

Malnutrition in Older Adults
Malnutrition is a specific poor health condition due to insufficient intake of food and essential nutrients. It can also be caused by the unbalanced diet and inability to absorb food nutrients. The symptoms of malnutrition can be seen in children and in older adults as well. Malnutrition also comprises of under-nutrition in which a human body suffers from lack of nutrients. An under-nutrition condition occurs due to deficiency of one or more than one nutrients.
Most of the time older adults don't eat properly and for that reason they suffer from the malnutrition problems. An inadequate nutrition can lead to malnutrition in older adults than younger adults.
Problems caused by malnutrition:
There are some major noticeable problems caused by malnutrition in adults. Some of the major health problems include-
  • Lung problem
  • Heart problem
  • Increase the risk of digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Weaker immune system
  • Increase the chance of pneumonia
  • Several infections
  • Muscle weakness
  • Blood clots
  • Depression
  • Bed sores
  • Low red blood cell count
Importance of proper nutrition:
  • Proper nutrition or adequate nutrition in food is really necessary for the seniors as they are prone to malnutrition. People who have dementia especially need proper balanced diet to avoid the signs of malnutrition
  • Independent and healthy older adults also need proper and well balanced food as these kinds of people often suffer the problems of malnutrition that develop gradually.
  • If a senior is going through post surgical period, then the person needs extra care and all the nutritious food as post surgical complications and deficiency of nutrition can also lead to malnutrition in older adults.
Causes of Malnutrition in older adults:
Malnutrition in older adults is a normal phenomena. Though it has some major causes that include physical causes, social causes and psychological causes.
Physical causes
  • Chronic illness
  • Trouble in swallowing and chewing
  • Post surgical complications
  • Problem in absorbing nutrients
  • Regular medication
  • Diminishing smell and taste senses
  • Frailty
Social and psychological causes:
  • Limited family income
  • Depression
  • Alcoholism
  • Reduced social interactions
  • Restricted Diets
Proper care for malnutrition in older adults:
After noticing the symptoms of malnutrition, there should be some proper treatment measures to be taken to prevent the severe problems of malnutrition. These can be-
  • Proper medication
  • Well balanced diet
  • Proper care and affection
  • Care to all the minor physical problems like dental problems, or poor wound healing, etc.

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