General Information on Undernutrition
Undernutrition is when a person is not getting enough calories or one or more essential nutrients. It is a calorie deficiency, and often times when a person is not getting enough calories, their bodies are also lacking essential vitamins and minerals. Undernutrition is most common in the poor, the homeless, the elderly, and in people with psychiatric disorders.
Symptoms of Undernutrition
Symptoms may include:
Loss of body fat
Cold and pale skin
Loss of appetite
Slow behavioral development- in children
Mental retardation- in children
Treatments For Undernutrition
Most of the time doctors can diagnose undernutrition based on the personís symptoms and appearance. To confirm diagnosis, blood tests may be performed. These tests measure the level of albumin, which is low in people who donít consume enough protein. A full physical exam is given to determine the effects of undernutrition. Treatment involves slowly increasing calories in the personís diet. For severe cases of undernutrition, food may be given intravenously.
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