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Author Topic: Nutritional Deficiencies (Malnutrition)  (Read 230 times)

Demisam

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Nutritional Deficiencies (Malnutrition)
« on: March 22, 2018, 11:09:47 am »
Nutritional Deficiencies (Malnutrition)

What Are Nutritional Deficiencies?

The recommended daily amount (RDA) of a nutrient is determined by how much the body needs to stay healthy. Nutrients can be obtained in a variety of ways—from eating a varied diet to taking vitamin supplements.

A nutritional deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t absorb the necessary amount of a nutrient. Deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems, such as problems of digestion, skin problems, stunted or defective bone growth, and even dementia.

What Causes Nutritional Deficiencies?

A poor diet that lacks essential nutrients generally causes nutritional deficiencies. The body stores nutrients. Therefore, a deficiency is usually detected after a prolonged lack of a nutrient.

A number of diseases and conditions—including colon cancer and gastrointestinal conditions—can lead to an iron deficiency. Pregnancy can also cause a deficiency if the body diverts iron to the fetus.

What Are the Symptoms of Nutritional Deficiencies?

The symptoms of a nutritional deficiency depend on which nutrient the body lacks. However deficiencies can cause general symptoms. These include:

Pallor (pale skin)
fatigue
weakness
trouble breathing
unusual food cravings
hair loss
periods of lightheadedness
constipation
sleepiness
heart palpitations
feeling faint or fainting
depression
tingling and numbness of the joints
menstrual issues (such as missed periods or very heavy cycles)
depression
poor concentration
You may display all of these symptoms or only groups of them. Over time, most people adapt to the symptoms. This causes the condition to go undiagnosed. Schedule a check-up with your healthcare provider if you experience prolonged periods of fatigue, weakness, and poor concentration. These symptoms could indicate the beginning of a serious deficiency.

How Are Nutritional Deficiencies Treated?

The treatment for a nutritional deficiency depends on the type and the severity of the deficiency. Your doctor will assess the severity of the deficiency and the likelihood of long-term problems caused by the lack of nutrients. He or she may order further testing to identify damage before deciding on a treatment plan. Symptoms usually fade when the correct diet is followed or supplemented—even with permanent conditions.

Dietary Changes

A doctor may advise you on how to change your eating habits in the case of a minor deficiency. For example, anemia sufferers should include more meat, eggs, poultry, vegetables, and cereals.

Your doctor may refer you to a dietician if your deficiency is more severe. He or she may recommend keeping a food diary for a number of weeks. When you meet with the dietician, you’ll go over the diary and identify changes you should make.

Typically, you will meet with the dietician regularly. Eventually, you may have a blood test to confirm that you are no longer nutrient deficient.

Supplements

In some cases, a nutritional deficiency may require supplements or a multivitamin. It may also be necessary to take an additional supplement to help with absorption, such as taking calcium and vitamin D together.

The frequency and dosage of a supplement will depend on how severe the deficiency is, and will be decided by your doctor or a dietician.

Parenteral Administration

In very severe cases, such as when a nutritional deficiency does not respond to oral medications, it may be necessary for the nutrient to be administered parenterally (through the veins or muscles). This can carry the risk of additional side effects, and usually administered in a hospital.

Parenteral iron, for example, can cause chills, backache, dizziness, fever, muscle pain, fainting, and even severe allergic reaction. Once the treatment has been administered, a repeat blood test will be done to confirm that it was successful. It may be necessary to attend the hospital for repeat appointments until the deficiency is resolved.

 

 

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