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Does inadequate nutrition and hydration affect their health?

It is true that nutritional neglect and hydration affects health of aged people a lot.This is because different signs of dehydration like dry mucous membranes,reduced tissue turgor and sweating with sunken eyes occur when aged people suffer from the lack of water.Some other signs of dehydration include weakness in the body,constipation,reduced urine output, etc.Unfortunately,some of the dehydration symptoms are subjective with normal range and leads to unpredictive outcomes and improper diagnosis.Some of these signs are present in other states as well like low blood pressure due to over dosage of medications.In cases of autonomic neuropathy,over dependence on low blood pressure may lead to dehydration.In a study conducted by people above 65 years of age,only 17% of people had confirmed biochemically of dehydration.

A normal fluid intake helps to replace other measurable losses as water comes out from our body through different processes of urine,feces,drain tubes or respiration and through the skin.People over 60-65 years of age should take around 2000 ml of water in a day to meet these losses.

Around 48% of older adults in India admitted to Emergency Department due to dehydration issues. The patients with dementia are at the higher risk of dehydration and up to ¼ of older people suffering from the problem of dehydration. So fluid balance is important and essential for the well-being of elders. Some of the ill-effects of dehydration include

  • Constipation
  • Falls
  • Toxicity due to medications
  • Urinary tract and respiratory infections
  • Delirium
  • Renal failure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Longer time to wound healing (esp. pressure
  • Ulcers)
  • Diagnostic tests for dehydration

Different types of tests can be conducted to know whether the elderly person is suffering from dehydration and lack of nutritional care or not. The most accurate diagnosis comes with serum osmolarity test, and a value above 295 mOsmol confirms reduced water content but only in exceptional circumstances. Other tests that are used for this diagnosis include elevated blood urea nitrogen to creatinine ratio and an elevated serum sodium in all these tests shows that water levels are abnormal. Another important consideration which is critical to the well-being and health of aged people is inadequate nutrition. You need to recognize the signs of nutrition problems. Some of the problems caused by malnutrition to older people are discussed here.

  • Weaker immune system which increases the risk of infections
  • Poor wound healing capability
  • Weakness in the muscles which leads to frequent falls and fractures.
  • Loss of appetite and it makes the problem even worse.
  • Problem of Hypertension
  • Poor nutrition can lead to high cholesterol which is the main contributor towards heart disease. The chances of rising in glucose level.

The chances of another serious disease like cancer, gout and stroke also increase due to lack of proper diet in senior age. Older people who are suffering from any disease like dementia or are underweight are more vulnerable to the effects of poor nutrition.

So all these situations rule out the importance of adequate nutrition and provision of safe drinking water to them.Make sure the elders in your home are getting the right type of nutrition and adequate water to save themselves from the ill-effects on health.

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