Prevention of malnutrition in the elderly – part 1
Μalnutrition develops when the body does not receive the necessary amount of energy, protein, vitamins and other nutrients to maintain health and proper organ function.
Losses of nutrients in the elderly can be accelerated by a large range of conditions, including diarrhea, severe intestinal dysfunction, burns, excessive sweating, serious injury and long stay in hospital.
Malnutrition in the elderly can lead to various health problems, such as:
- A weak immune system, which increases the risk of infections
- Poor wound healing
- Muscle weakness, which can lead to falls and fractures
In addition, poor nutrition can lead to further lack of interest in eating or lack of appetite that worsens the problem.
Older people who are seriously ill and those who have dementia or have lost weight, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition.
How to detect malnutrition?
Signs of malnutrition in the elderly can be difficult to spot, especially in people who do not look at risk, but if you detect some early signs that can help prevent complications later.
For detection of malnutrition:
Observe the eating habits of an elderly person. Record all the meals during the day and find out if the person is living alone and who buys their food.
Watch weight loss. Help the elderly to keep track of their weight to find out in time any losses. A sign of weight loss is changes in the size of their clothes, i.e. to look more baggy on them.
Identify other signs. Malnutrition, in addition to weight loss, can cause poor healing of wounds, easy bruising and dental problems.
Know their medications. Many drugs affect the appetite, digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Specifically, there are three points to be examined in more detail to identify malnutrition:
Is the elderly already underweight? Assessed by calculating the BMI, where less than 20 kg / m2 indicates an increased risk of malnutrition. Some researchers have argued that the ideal BMI range for older people (especially for those over 75 years) will be moved up to 23-25 kg / m2 to allow for changes in body composition.
…this article is provided by www.tiptonhomecare.co.uk