Malnutrition symptoms


Malnutrition is an imbalance or deficiency of crucial nutrients in the body, this happens due to inappropriate or insufficient consumption of nutrients through food. Inappropriate consumption may lead to either malnutrition or even over- nutrition. May it be over nutrition of malnutrition both are harmful conditions for the body. Such conditions may lead to physical maladies such as diabetes, Marasmus, issues related to cardiovascular health or Kwashiorkor. Malnutrition is mostly related to the diet and can afflict individual of any age and the symptoms may differ to some extent. This article is focused on malnutrition symptoms in children, adults, women and elders. But before we learn about symptoms it better to know about how the disease is caused and its diagnoses.

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Malnutrition causes:

Malnutrition does not have only one particular cause but it may occur due to numerous factors. It is believed that poverty serves as the chief culprit of malnutrition in numerous countries. It is due to lack of nutritional food, that most children and elders have to face under- nourishment which in turn weakens their immune system and increase their chances of getting affected by other fatal disorders and diseases. It is believed that approximately 50% of the entire population of the world suffers from malnutrition of protein deficiency because of unhealthy food. Malnutrition may affect anyone who suffers from other chronic physical issues such as Cancer or AIDS. Some unhealthy lifestyle habits such as alcohol abuse and drug consumption affects the appetite of the addict and causes it to reduce dramatically. People who suffer from obesity and trying to reduce weight may sometime overdo by self induced starvation which may also cause malnutrition. These are some but not all causes of malnutrition.

Malnutrition diagnosis:

Diagnosing malnutrition is not a difficult task as just by looking at the afflicted individuals it can be said whether the person suffers from malnutrition. Standard body weight chart would also help in deterring whether the patient is suffering from malnutrition. Understanding the body density through BMI or Body Mass Index technique and/ or through X- ray imaging technique may also help in understanding the prevalence of the disease. Other than the aforementioned diagnosing technique, recording changes in eating behavior may also help in understanding the disorder.

Most people wrongly perceive that malnutrition is only associated with under eating and skinniness, but it should be known that the term ‘malnutrition’ is also used to refer to over eating and excess nutrient in the body. Another thing to remember is that the condition can be a potential threat to the life of the affected individuals and may lead to death as well.

Malnutrition Symptoms in Children:

Malnutrition is widely seen in infant as well as children. Some of the symptoms recorded in case of children are as follows.

• Skin related issues such as dehydrated or dry skin with visible scales causing flakes

• Painful as well as protruded joints throughout the body

• Trembling or quivering

• Weakness of muscles

• Development of osteoporosis due to which bones become weak and prone to fracture

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• Slowed reflexes

• Lightheadedness or dizziness

• Loss or reduction in energy or fatigue

• Dramatic loss in weight

• Reduction or loss of appetite

• Retardation related to growth

• Bloated abdomen

• Reduced functionality of organ

• Bleeding of gums

• Decaying teeth or other dental problems

• Reduced immunity or poor immune system

• Decreased brain functionality

• Reduction in memory power

• Loss of ocular abilities or vision due to significant deficiency of Vitamin A

• Rubeola or Morbilli also commonly known as measles

• Kwashiorkor (childhood protein energy malnutrition) and Marasmus (protein energy malnurition), both these condition may occur due to deficiency of protein and have similar sigs and symptoms

Malnutrition symptoms in adults:

Malnutrition is also common amongst adults as it is mostly related to intake of nutrient. Symptoms that may be experienced by adults are:

• Edema which was formerly known as dropsy or hydropsy (accumulation of fluid in body cavities or under skin)

• Anemia also spelled as anaemia is condition of reduced RBC or Red Blood Cells.

• Adult may also suffer from dry scaly skin

• Pigment- less brittle hair

• Poor nourishment of hair

• Brittleness of nails

• Reduction or loss of appetite

• Dramatic reduction in weight

• Weakness of muscles

• Joint ache

• Ineffective immune system

• Persistent diarrhea

• Swollen thyroid gland also known as Goitre or Goiter

• Malnutrition of increased protein energy

• Constant irritability

• Bad mood

• Tiredness and exhaustion

Malnutrition Symptoms in Elders:

Like children are prone to malnutrition even aged individual are prone to malnutrition. The following are some of the symptoms experienced by elder individuals:

• Confusion

• Hallucination or delusion

• Tachycardia a physical condition wherein a significantly increased heart rate is experienced which may also lead to heart attack

• Intense anger

• Constant irritability

• Infrequent urination

• Kidney issues associated with urinating issues

• Dehydrated or dry skin

• Flaky or scaly skin

• Bowel obstruction

• Constipation

• Dizziness

Malnutrition symptom in women

Malnutrition causes various issues in women, women are no safer that any other category and are likely to get affected equally. Some of the symptoms of malnutrition may include:

• Mood changes

• Hormonal changes in women

• Delay of menses or missed menstrual cycle

• Delayed growth

• Dramatic weight loss

• Loss of appetite

• Muscle weakness

• Joint pain

• Weakness of bone

• Skin and hair changes such as:

o Brittle hairs and nails

o Hair loss

o Paled skin

• Reduced immune system

• Sunken sides of head

Malnutrition symptoms in pregnant women:

Pregnant women who are malnourished may face several problems during delivery, it is also said that women is at high risk of dying due to weakness. Here are some symptoms faced by women during pregnancy.

• During delivery the women’s child may weigh less

• The baby is also weak

• Baby in the womb may have poor growth rate

• Blindness due to deficiency of vitamin A

Remember that these symptoms are not all, but there may be other additional malnutrition symptoms that may be experienced while a person is affected by malnutrition.

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