Malnutrition And Senior
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A report published by the CDC claims that among people aged sixty years and above, just a mere seventeen percent consume a diet that can be called a good diet. A massive sixty-eight percent consume a diet that can still improve and around fourteen percent consume a diet that is poor. Malnutrition and seniors go hand in hand.
In fact, it has been seen that many seniors end up suffering from malnutrition because they are sticking to what their doctors tell them. It is important that doctors educate seniors on the foods to avoid as well as on what foods they can substitute for the ones they are avoiding. When a senior continuously has poor nutrition, it transform into malnutrition. If seniors do not eat properly, it can end up making them feel weak and more susceptible to other health issues, such as fractures, weakness, frailty and depression.
Usually, it has been seen that many seniors live alone and when they do not feel like eating, they do not cook. Also, when such seniors fall ill, the do not have the appetite to eat. This is a vicious cycle for a senior, as eating will help them get better faster, but at the same time they are unable to stomach food. As a result this can lead to malnutrition.
When seniors suffer from malnutrition, they are exposing themselves to many health problems, such as weakened immune system, poor healing of wounds, and weakness of the muscles. When the immune system is not functioning optimally, the senior is prone to infection. Also, when the muscles get weakened, there is a risk of falling and getting fractures. Ironically, malnutrition can also result in lack of appetite, which goes to make the matters worse.
So, how does malnutrition occur in seniors? It can occur due to consumption of little food or eating a diet that does not contain sufficient nutrients. However, it has been seen that malnutrition in seniors is frequently caused due to a blend of social, physical and psychological problems. For example, when seniors have health issues, it often causes a decrease in their appetite. Also using certain medications for their health issues can cause problems in the absorption of nutrients. Or, wearing dentures or having dental problems can make it difficult for them to chew. This can result in malnutrition.
Many seniors due to their health problems are often put on restrictive diet. Because of imposed restriction, many seniors do not eat properly or sufficient amounts. This, in turn, results in malnutrition. Also, seniors, who live alone or do not have a social life, are more prone to malnutrition, as it is no fun for them to always eat on their own. So, they avoid cooking as well as eating. Depression and alcoholism are other causes for malnutrition among seniors.
Malnutrition and seniors often go hand in hand. Hence, as a loving family member, it is important to keep a watch for symptoms of malnutrition. Make sure that when ever you visit the senior, you make note of their eating habits. If your parent or elderly spouse is losing weight for no obvious reason, it is a sign that they are not eating enough; and when this happens, they could be suffering from malnutrition. If you also notice that the person bruises easily, has problems chewing or has poor healing of wounds, then it could be a sign of malnutrition. Many times, taking medications can also affect appetite, absorption of nutrients and digestion. So, speak to the senior's doctor to find out if there are such medications that your loved one is taking. If so, speak to the doctor to find out how you can avert malnutrition.
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Mayo Clinic: Senior Health: How To Prevent and Detect Malnutrition