Malnutrition is a condition that results from nutrient deficiency or overconsumption.
It can cause serious health problems, including stunted growth, eye problems, diabetes and heart disease.
Malnutrition affects millions of people worldwide. Some populations have an increased risk of developing some types of malnutrition depending on their environment, lifestyle and resources.
This article go concentrates on the types, symptoms and causes of malnutrition and provides advice on the prevention and treatment.
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Malnutrition are classification may include
Undernutrition: This is the type of malnutrition that results from not getting adequate protein, calories or micronutrients. It causes low weight-for-height (wasting), height-for-age (stunting) and weight-for-age (underweight).
Overnutrition: Overconsumption of some nutrients, including protein, calories or fat, can also cause malnutrition. This usually results in overweight or obesity.
Those who are undernourished usually have deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, particularly iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine.
However, micronutrient deficiencies can also come with overnutrition.
It’s likely to be overweight or obese from excessive calorie consumption but not get sufficient vitamins and minerals at the same time.
That’s due to foods that contribute to overnutrition, including fried and sugary foods, appears to be high in calories and fat but low in other nutrients.
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Undernutrition is as a results of not getting sufficient nutrients in your diet.
This can cause:
Loss of fat and muscle mass
Hollow cheeks and sunken eyes
Dry hair and skin
A swollen stomach
Delayed wound healing
Depression and anxiety
People with undernutrition may experience one or some of these symptoms.
Kwashiorkor, is a serious protein deficiency that causes fluid retention and a protruding abdomen. On the other hand, the condition marasmus, which results from severe calorie deficiency, causes wasting and significant fat and muscle loss.
Undernutrition can also be as a result of micronutrient deficiencies. Some of the well-known deficiencies and their symptoms may include:
Vitamin A: Dry eyes, night blindness, high risk of infection.
Zinc: Loss of appetite, stunted growth,hair loss, delayed healing of wounds,diarrhea.
Iron: Impaired brain function, problems with regulating body temperature, stomach problems.
Iodine: Enlarged thyroid glands (goiters),growth and development issues, decreased production of thyroid hormone.
Since undernutrition causes serious physical issues and health issues, it can raise your risk of death.
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The major signs of overnutrition are overweight and obesity, but it can also results to nutrient deficiencies.
Research suggest that people who are overweight or obese are more prone to have inadequate intakes and low blood levels of some vitamins and minerals compared to those who are at a normal weight.
One study in 285 adolescents shows that blood levels of vitamins A and E in obese people were 2–10% lower than those of normal-weight participants.
This is possible because overweight and obesity can result from an over-eating of fast and processed foods that are high in calories and fat but low in other nutrients.
A research in over 17,000 adults and children found that those who ate fast food had significantly poor intakes of vitamins A and C and higher calorie, fat and sodium consumption than those who avoid this kind of food.
Symptoms of malnutrition are exermined by healthcare experts when they screen for the condition.
Tools that are used to assessed malnutrition include weight loss and body mass index (BMI) charts, blood tests for micronutrient status and physical exams.
If you experience weight loss and other symptoms connected with undernutrition, your doctor may order additional tests to analyse micronutrient deficiencies.
Identifying nutrient deficiencies that result from overnutrition, on the other hand, can be more challenging.
If you’re overweight or obese and eat mainly processed and fast foods, you may not get sufficient vitamins or minerals. To know if you have nutrients deficiencies, consider discussing your dietary habits with your doctor.