Marasmus is rather serious protein-energy undernourishment and Kwashiorkor is acute protein-energy undernourishment which occurs in children. Apart from the previously mentioned conditions, malnutrition also affects cardiovascular system and may cause diabetes. The symptoms may vary a lot and they are classified according to the age.
Malnutrition Symptoms in Children
This condition has huge influence on infants and children. In malnutrition skin becomes dry and flaky. Due to absence of protein intake a child develops edema of joints and joints may be also painful. Insufficient energy results in weakness of muscles and slow reflexes. Affected ones are tired and lethargic. Prolonged malnutrition may result in osteoporosis. Dizziness may also occur. There is a clear loss of weight. Children do not grow and develop as they suppose to. The belly is bloated and extremities extremely thin. Even gums may start to bleed. The immune system does not function properly so the affected ones are more susceptible to infections. Apart from the previously mentioned, additional symptoms and signs may be related to specific vitamin deficiencies.
Malnutrition Symptoms in Adults
In adults undernourishment may cause additional medical conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions and so on. In adults malnutrition presents with edema which is a consequence of insufficient intake of proteins. The skin is dry and hair and nails brittle. There is visible loss of weight. Muscles are weak and joints painful. Improper intake of iron results in anemia. Chronic diarrhea may be additional sign of undernourishment in adults. The immune system is weak and affected ones are feeling tired all the time. Even, their mood changes and they become more irritable and ill-disposed.
Malnutrition Symptoms in Elderly People
Elderly undernourished people are confused and disorientated. They may be irritable and rather angry. In elderly people malnutrition may lead to rapid heart beat and cause heart attacks. Insufficient intake of food is usually followed with insufficient intake of water which consequently leads to low output of urine and problem with kidneys. In elderly people conjoined absence of food and water may cause constipation. Dizziness may lead to sudden falls which is a huge risk of injuries.Causes of Malnutrition
There is a variety of causes for undernourishment. Poverty is most definitely the leading one. Disappointing fact is that around 50% of the worlds population suffers from undernourishment caused by unhealthy eating habits. Apart from that certain diseases may lead to malnutrition.