General information about malnutrition


General information about malnutrition

General information about malnutrition

Malnutrition (Undernutrition) is a term used to express not put the body gets all the essential nutrients needed by, or on part of it. This deficiency occurs if the body does not obtain one or more of the vital elements required to carry out its functions normally, or because of poor absorption of nutrients in a portion of the food, despite the availability of the required quantity and elements in it. The severity of malnutrition ranges from marginal mild to severe cases that cause irreparable damage, even if the person survives.

Severe malnutrition, caused by starvation or lack of food, is a characteristic of developing countries. In developed countries, this type of malnutrition appears in the lower socio-economic classes, or as a result of medical neglect, or in the case of people who suffer from abnormal food faddism. Despite eating enough food, malnutrition can result from a difficult chronic illness or from poor absorption of nutrients from food in the digestive system (for a permanent or temporary cause). It's also worth noting that a deficiency in only one nutrient (a particular vitamin, for example) is also considered malnutrition.

Pathological malnutrition develops gradually and is difficult to diagnose in the beginning, and may escalate to cause significant physical harm. Prior knowledge of the symptoms of malnutrition contributes to prompt treatment. When malnutrition is linked to a lack of food or a misunderstanding of nutritional needs, the authorities responsible for public health must solve this problem and prevent its occurrence by providing sufficient quantities of food, and by raising awareness of proper nutrition methods. But when the background of malnutrition is satisfactory, or as a result of neglect and eating disorders, the responsibility, in this case, falls on the treating physicians.

Groups most at risk of malnutrition:

  1. The younger generation - In the wake of the intense need for essential nutrients and energy for growth, infants and children of the growing age are more vulnerable to the harm of malnutrition. As a result, they will suffer from sluggishness, delayed growth, and development, anemia, and signs of vitamin deficiency.
  2. Pregnancy and breastfeeding - the baby's needs require the mother to be well-nourished. The lack of food, in general, may lead to premature birth. A deficiency of folic acid in the diet of a pregnant woman can lead to damage and birth defects in the nervous system of the fetus. Also, not obtaining vitamin B12 would lead to a deficiency in this vitamin in the infant.
  3. Elderly - Inability to regulate nutritional needs or poor absorption of nutrients, especially iron, may result in malnutrition in the elderly.
  4. Chronic patients - diseases related to malabsorption of nutrients, or diseases that put stress on the body, and are usually accompanied by loss of appetite, necessitate attention to providing rich nutrition to ensure the body's ability to perform its functions.