June 20, 2024

Guide on Malnutrition, Causes, Symptoms, Types And Side Effects.

Malnutrition is a condition caused by eating a diet in which one or more nutrients are either insufficient or excessive, resulting in health consequences. Malnutrition is a phrase that is frequently used to describe undernutrition, which occurs when a person does not consume enough calories, protein, or minerals. Malnutrition can also be viewed as a catch-all term for both undernutrition and overnutrition. Malnutrition includes micronutrient deficiencies as well as excess intake of macronutrients. Malnutrition is a disorder that occurs in industrialized countries as a result of eating a diet that is deficient in one or more nutrients, resulting in health concerns.

Symptoms of malnutrition

The causes of malnutrition in human beings are the absence of calories, inadequate intake of essential nutrients, and a lack of a diverse diet. Malnutrition can cause a range of symptoms in humans, among them fatigue, weakness, dizziness, anorexia, weight loss, decreased production of red blood cells, and edema. A malnourished person may suffer from anemia, impaired cognitive function, poor eyesight, poor hearing, or poor physical health. This diet is a description of symptoms of hunger and malnutrition. 

True symptoms which should be looked for should be thoroughly searched first medically. These symptoms usually don’t come about except in severe cases of malnutrition which includes under-nutrition, food deprivation, and/or nutrient deficiency. In addition to these physiological symptoms, malnutrition can also result in an increased blood volume, which can result in increased blood pressure. In turn, an increase in blood pressure, typically due to increased pressure inside the skull, may also lead to an increase in intracranial pressure, resulting in a person passing out or appearing to go into shock.  

Causes of malnutrition 

The causes of malnutrition are often related to poverty, poor sanitation, unclean water, and living conditions, but can also be due to medical problems such as diabetes and Crohn’s disease. Malnutrition affects people in all areas of the world. Malnutrition is a big problem in the world. It causes various health problems and may lead to death. 

Malnutrition occurs as a result of poor diet, disease, or an underlying condition such as insufficient food intake, loss of appetite due to illness, inability to eat or absorb nutrients into your body, metabolic disorders that prevent your body from absorbing nutrients; genetic disorders; and/or other factors that affect nutrient absorption and metabolism. Malnutrition can occur at any age, but it is most common among infants. 

Types of malnutrition

Malnutrition can result from insufficient consumption of protein, energy, and essential nutrients over a prolonged period. While starvation is the most extreme form of malnutrition, malnutrition is more generally understood as having insufficient healthy food available to eat. There are three major types of malnutrition: undernutrition, overnutrition, and malnutrition due to disease.

1. Undernutrition

Undernutrition is a condition that results from not eating enough total food energy to meet nutritional needs over a given period. The term malnutrition implies a negative nitrogen balance, which can be caused by insufficient intake of protein and calories.  This is attributed to iron deficiency, which has been linked to low hemoglobin levels in both children and adults. 

Iron deficiency can lead to a wide range of health issues, including fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headaches, and listlessness. Globally, about 40% of all children under five years old are underweight, and almost one-third (32%) of them are growing more slowly than they should. Undernutrition contributes to around half (45%) of deaths in young children.

2. Over-nutrition

Over-nutrition is a global health problem of epidemic proportions. According to the World Health Organization, poor nutrition has been cited as the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 15 and 45. Making matters worse, more than 2 billion people are overweight or obese worldwide, with an estimated 300 million of them living in Europe. Over-nutrition is a serious problem in the western world today. 

It has become so commonplace that it is now considered an epidemic. People are consuming more calories than they can burn off, and this leads to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and many other health problems. Overnutrition occurs when a person is eating more calories than they can burn. This can be difficult to determine because of the various methods of measuring calorie intake, and it depends on how active a person is.

3. Malnutrition due to disease is a problem.

Malnutrition is a condition that can be brought on by a wide variety of diseases, both infectious and non-infectious.  While all people can become malnourished, those who are most at risk include the very young, pregnant women, and older adults. Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough nutrients to support normal growth and maintenance. Malnutrition can occur due to various conditions, such as disease or side effects from medication. In these cases, malnourishment is usually diagnosed by a physician after a physical examination and lab tests. There are three main types of malnutrition: protein-energy malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, and mineral deficiency.

i. Protein-Energy Malnutrition

PEM is a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough energy or protein for normal growth and development. It usually affects people who are already in poor health, such as those with HIV/AIDS or cancer, or older adults. PEM can also occur after surgery, injury, loss of blood due to trauma (hemorrhage), inadequate diet (malnutrition), starvation, or during times of extreme stress. It is most common in infants, pregnant women, the elderly, and people whose bodies are fighting an infection.

ii. Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiency is a major medical concern in many parts of the world. It has been linked to health issues such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other illnesses. In some cases, it can even lead to death. That’s why it’s important to know which vitamins your body needs and how to get enough of them. According to the World Health Organization, about 1.4 billion people worldwide have a vitamin A deficiency. This is fairly significant considering that approximately 2 billion people are deficient in at least one micronutrient. In fact, more than half of preschool-aged children and about 800 million women and girls worldwide have a vitamin A deficiency (WHO).

iii. Mineral Deficiency

Minerals are naturally occurring substances found on the earth. They are used to make rocks and soil, but they can also be used by living things like plants, animals, or humans. The main minerals that people need are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium chloride (salt), potassium, sulfur, and chlorine. Mineral deficiency is a common problem in modern society. 

The use of chemical fertilizers and the consumption of processed foods prevents the body from getting enough minerals, such as zinc, which it needs to maintain its normal functions. To make sure your body gets all the essential minerals, you can turn to nutritional supplements and herbal remedies that contain minerals.


Treatment of malnutrition

The symptoms can be easily treated with a healthy diet and multivitamin tablets. Malnutrition is a major public health problem in most parts of the world, including developed countries such as the United States, where obesity is more common than hunger. The treatment of malnutrition in adults is dependent upon its cause and degree. If malnutrition can be treated, a life-threatening episode of wasting can be avoided or managed. 

When the cause of malnutrition cannot be treated (i.e. the cause of severe malnutrition cannot be identified and the patient is dying), conventional treatments should be given as well as supportive care (e.g. nutritional support, health promotion, psychosocial support, and counseling), such as intravenous fluids, parenteral nutrition (IV nutrition), and therapy (fruits and vegetables, dairy, juices, vitamins, and supplements, etc.). 

Treatment for malnutrition can be either oral or intravenous, depending upon the stage and degree of malnutrition. In mild or moderate cases, oral administration of energy drinks is recommended, along with increased physical activity and water, or increasing fluids. In severe cases, an intravenous feeding tube or gastrostomy

Prevention of malnutrition

The prevention of malnutrition is aimed at providing the necessary nutrients to the body for the uninterrupted, healthy function of the world’s population. Meal planning helps people with limited time to plan nutritious meals that they will actually enjoy. Nutrient-dense foods that are easy to prepare and budget-friendly are important for the prevention of malnutrition in human beings. 

Malnutrition is a problem that has been tackled by the medical community for many years. Doctors and hospitals do their best to help those who need it, but there comes a time when one must turn to other healthcare providers for help. Doctors and other healthcare providers should always remember to use prevention as a first step. Many patients may not need to be hospitalized, which means they don’t need the many benefits hospitals to provide to their patients.


In conclusion, malnutrition can lead to many serious health problems for an individual. It is important to make sure that you are getting the proper nutrients from your diet if you want to prevent yourself from becoming malnourished. A nutritionist can help you optimize the foods you eat so that your diet provides all of the nutrients needed for body functioning and growth.  

Malnutrition can be prevented and if it has been recently diagnosed in a person, the person may be able to recover from the condition. Treatment is dependent on the cause of malnutrition and any underlying conditions that might have caused or contributed to it. The information provided in this article has been gathered to help you understand what malnutrition is and how it may affect your health.


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