Malnutrition is a nutrient deficiency state of protein, energy and other micronutrients and this deficiency lead to considerable harm to our body and different functions.Malnutrition can be considered as both a cause and consequence of bad health.Most of the people visualize malnutrition as affecting starving children only , but the reality is that it affects elderly people and hospitalized people as well. It increases the patient’s vulnerability to disease.On the other hand, dehydration (hypohydration) means the excessive loss of body water with an accompanying disruption of other metabolic processes.
Both malnutrition and dehydration are dangerous to human beings, but some specific groups are more prone to dangerous diseases due to malnutrition and dehydration.Children and young people Malnutrition has a significant impact on the children and poses health risks that continue through adulthood.Most of the children who are suffering from the problem of malnutrition belong to a poor family, and they do not have adequate resources to fulfill the body’s requirement of essential nutrients.At the same time, these children do not have ample resources of water and suffer from dehydration and various other water-borne diseases also.
But you will see some of the instances of malnutrition and dehydration in children from rich family due to ignorance.Some of the parents prefer to give their children processed foods and junk food that does not meet the nutritional need of growing children.You will also come across issues of over nutrition which leads to obesity in children.Weather conditions affect the intake of water and children living in colder weather conditions drink less water which leads to several health issues.
All these issues should be considered by parents to save their children from the impact of malnutrition and dehydration on the growth of young children.
The problem of malnutrition and dehydration are often ignored in older patients due to lack of awareness. But the reasons behind this problem are so many and includes chronic illness, co-morbidities, lose of appetite due to medications, hydration and body’s capability to absorb nutrients, physical changes like impaired mobility affecting people’s ability to shop or access food choices.
The impact of malnutrition and dehydration is more on the frail elderly. The lack of adequate nourishment can be due to a physical impairment or psychologically frail. Adequate nutritional care of older people needs to be recognized properly, and response should be making provision of clean water within arm’s reach. At the same time, arrangements for food rich in protein and other important minerals and that can be digested properly should be made.
Poor nourishment to elderly people increases the chances of pressure ulcer development in patients and leads to the risk of fall in the category of vulnerable people. The provision of adequate food and water becomes even more important in people who have suffered from a stroke in recent times to prevent further complications.
With the progress of dementia in older people, they find it difficult to chew food and it necessitates to make provision of liquid food or foods that can be chewed easily by them.Make sure that such people drink adequate water to keep other problems at bay.
People with any type of physical or mental disability find it very difficult to meet the dietary requirement as their life is more dependent on others for the fulfillment of these needs. This increased dependency leads to more cases of malnutrition and dehydration among people with learning or any other disabilities.
People suffering from learning disabilities specific profound disabilities suffer from problems with swallowing or problems with feeding.These problems are caused due to neurological disorders or other structural abnormalities of the mouth or throat.Further problems of overweight or underweight in these people come up due to the impact of a lifestyle or other situations.
When a person enters into palliative state or end of life care then several difficulties are observed due to chronic illness, frailty or difficulty in swallowing that leads to problems of malnutrition and dehydration in such people. Nutritional care becomes difficult this time, and it becomes difficult to give assisted nutrition always by ensuring the patient’s comfort, ethical and legal concerns of the patients and interest level to take the treatment or not.