Undernutrition and Malnutrition

Malnutrition can occur over time in people who do not meet their nutritional needs. People can become malnourished or experience undernutrition if their diet does not provide them with enough energy or protein or vitamins and minerals to meet their needs or if their body is unable to absorb nutrients properly from the food that they eat. Malnutrition is related to poorer health as it can significantly impact on a person’s ability to complete their daily activities and affect their quality of life.

People at a higher risk of malnutrition are those that have special or extra nutritional needs. These include;

  • Elderly people
  • People with poor mobility and/or cognition
  • A poor appetite
  • Respiratory disorders such as emphysema
  • Cancer patients
  • People with chronic infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Gastrointestinal disorders that involve malabsorption

The symptoms of malnutrition can include;

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fat and muscle wasting
  • Decreased mobility
  • Poor appetite, feeling full quickly or eating less than usual
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Hair loss
  • Pale skin
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor wound healing

In most cases undernutrition and malnutrition can be prevented. If you have malnutrition or are concerned that you may be at risk of undernutrition or malnutrition our Dietitian is able to offer you practical advice and strategies on how you can meet your nutritional requirements and improve your health. Our Dietitian will work with you to ensure that you have a well-balanced diet by eating a wide variety of foods and aim to maintain your weight and minimise weight loss.