Malnutrition Essay

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Malnutrition Essay

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Malnutrition is both a cause and a consequence of ill-health. The term malnutrition can apply to various states – under-nutrition, over-nutrition or deficiencies of specific nutrients (8).Malnutrition is common but under-recognised in the elderly. Clinicians are seldom taught about the subject during their undergraduate or postgraduate level.Malnutrition can lead to serious consequences in terms of morbidity and mortality (5).Undernutrition is a global problem that is usually caused by a lack of food or alimited range of foods that provide inadequate amounts of specific nutrients or other food components, e.g. protein, dietary fibre and micronutrients. Excessive intake of food or specific forms of food may also be harmful. Malnutrition

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Poor nutritional status in the elderly is associated with numerous factors, including decline in cognitive and functional status, chronic diseases, medications, poor dentition, isolation, and poverty. The nutritional status of elderly individuals is difficult to estimate. (1,3)

Nutrition-related diseases in elderly

Anemia in older persons is commonly overlooked despite mounting evidence that low hemoglobin levels are a significant marker of physiologic decline. Using the World Health Organization definition of anemia (hemoglobin level less than 13 g per dL (130 g per L) in men and less than 12 g per dL (120 g per L) in women), more than 10 percent of persons older than 65 years are anemic. The prevalence increases with age, approaching 50 percent in chronically ill patients living in nursing homes. There is increasing evidence that even mild anemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Anemia warrants evaluation in all older persons, except those at the end of life or who decline interventions. About one third of persons have anemia secondary to a nutritional deficiency, one third have anemia caused by chronic inflammation or chronic kidney disease, and one third have unexplained anemia. Nutritional anemia is effectively treated with vitamin or iron replacement. Iron deficiency anemia often is caused by gastrointestinal bleeding and requires further investigation in most patients.

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