Malnutrition is the condition caused by lack of nutrients in the body which may cause severe complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, brain damage, marasmus and other. Unhealthy diet, digestive or absorption problems and different medical conditions can lead to malnutrition. Symptoms of malnutrition can be seen in people of any age. Given below are symptoms of malnutrition in children, adults and elderly people.
Symptoms of Malnutrition in Children
Malnutrition mostly affects infants and growing children. A malnourished child may exhibit symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, low energy, decreased immune response, dizziness and slow reflexes. Malnutrition in children also causes swelling and pain in joints, osteoporosis, growth retardation, tooth decay and bleeding gums, swollen abdomen, dry and flaky skin, muscle weakness and trembling. Low organ functioning, poor memory, night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency and diarrhea are present too. Lack of dietary energy and protein lead to kwashiorkor and marasmus, two conditions which typically represent malnutrition and its negative effects.
Symptoms of Malnutrition in Adults
Adults may also suffer from malnutrition. Malnutrition symptoms in adults may have serious consequences and result in diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other problems. Malnutrition in adults causes edema, anemia, dry scaly skin, brittle hair that has lost its pigment and brittle and malformed nails. A malnourished individual displays appetite loss, weight loss, joint pain, goiter and chronic diarrhea. Malnutrition leads to slower immune response which increases the risk of infections. The person also exhibits low mood, constant irritability, exhaustion and fatigue.
Symptoms of Malnutrition in Elderly
In elderly people, malnutrition leads to confusion, disorientation and irritability. It also causes tachycardia or fast heart beat which may lead to a heart attack. Decreased urination is present too and may further damage the kidneys. Constipation, bowel obstruction, dry and scaly skin, dizziness and memory decline are present as well.
Causes of Malnutrition
Malnutrition can have many causes. The leading cause of malnutrition worldwide is poverty. Many become undernourished due to lack of healthy and balanced diet. Inadequate diet causes protein energy malnutrition in nearly 50% of the overall population. Certain chronic illnesses are also associated with malnutrition. People with cancer, AIDS and celiac disease are also often malnourished as a result of organ damage and dysfunction. Alcoholics, drug addicts may be malnourished as well since they have reduced sense of hunger. Obesity is often also accompanied by malnutrition due to increased consumption of sugar and calorie rich foods which are nutritionally empty.