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Malnutrition Symptoms, Causes and It's Impacts

Malnutrition is a general term that refers to a medical condition caused by a diet that is not right or not enough. Although it is often equated with lack of nutrition caused by lack of consumption, poor absorption, or a large loss of nutrients or nutrient, this term actually also includes excess nutrients (overnutrition) caused by overeating or excessive inclusion of specific nutrients into the body. One will experience malnutrition if not consume the amount or quality sufficient nutrients for a healthy diet for a long enough period of time. Prolonged malnutrition can lead to starvation, disease, and infection.



Malnutrition in children can affect brain development. As a result, the child will be impaired include permanent brain damage, lack of myelin and dendrites, and the malfunctioning of neuritransmitter. Nutrients that should be given regularly, among others, iodine, iron, vitamins, and protein. Iodine deficiency, for example, can lead to reduced intelligence and stunted children. Others, lack of vitamin A causes children reduced eyesight, even to blindness. Children with malnutrition are also easily recognizable with physical characteristics that look. The first characteristic is a face that looks much older than the actual age.

In children with good nutrition, face looks bright and fresh. Children with malnutrition tends to show facial wrinkles, such as parents who were exposed to a lot of problems. Demeanor was not agile like a normal child. Mental development of children with malnutrition tend to be inhibited. It can be recognized by the dominant attitude of the child, as too cool, easily irritable or cry. Children so insensitive, because of lack of stimulation due to malnutrition.

Signs and Symptoms of Malnutrition

Symptoms vary and depend on what is causing the malnutrition. However, some common symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, and weight loss. Children who suffer from severe malnutrition typically experience slow growth behavior, even mental retardation may occur. Here are malnutrition symptoms in children:
  • easily tired and no energy,
  • frequent dizziness,
  • susceptible to infection,
  • dry and scaly skin,
  • gums swollen and bleed easily,
  • brittle teeth,
  • difficulty concentrating,
  • below normal weight,
  • sluggish growth,
  • weak muscles,
  • flatulence, and
  • brittle bones.

Malnutrition causes

Malnutrition, as a result of a lack of essential nutrients, may be caused by several conditions or circumstances. In many developing countries malnutrition long-term (chronic) is widespread,because people do not have enough food to eat. Meanwhile in the rich countries, malnutrition is usually caused by:
  • Poor diet: If a person does not eat enough food, or if what they eat does not provide the nutrients they need. Poor diet can be caused by several different factors.
  • Mental health problems: Some patients with mental health conditions, such as depression, can develop eating habits that lead to malnutrition. Patients with anorexia nervosa or bulimia may develop malnutrition because food they ingest too little
  • Mobility problems: People with mobility problems may suffer from malnutrition.
  • Indigestion and stomach condition: Some people may eat right, but their bodies can not absorb the nutrients they need.
  • Alcoholism: An alcoholic is a person who suffered from alcoholism, the body is very dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism is a a chronic disease (long-term). Individuals suffering from alcoholism may develop gastritis, or damage to the pancreas. These problems also seriously weakens the body's ability to digest food, absorb certain vitamins, and produces hormones that regulate metabolism. Alcohol contains calories, reduce feelings of hunger.

Diseased caused by malnutrition

According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition is the biggest contributor to child mortality either directly or indirectly lead to various deficiency disorders. Here is a list of diseases caused by malnutrition, we must know:
  • kwashiorkor
  • marasmus
  • anemia
  • goiter
  • hyponatremia
  • hypokalemia
  • Vitamin deficiency

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