What is it?

Malnutrition is a condition that results from nutrient deficiency or overconsumption. Types of malnutrition includes
Undernutrition: results from not getting enough protein, calories or micronutrients. It leads to low weight-for-height (wasting), height-for-age (stunting) and weight-for-age (underweight).
Overnutrition: Overconsumption of certain nutrients, such as protein, calories or fat, can also lead to malnutrition. This usually results in overweight or obesity.
People who are undernourished often have deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Arrested Development due to Malnutrition
- Malnutrition of Moderate Degree
- Malnutrition of Mild Degree

Signs & symptoms

Signs and symptoms of malnutrition includes:
- lack of appetite or interest in food or drink
- tiredness and irritability
- inability to concentrate
- always feeling cold
- depression
- loss of fat, muscle mass, and body tissue
- a higher risk of getting sick and taking longer to heal
- longer healing time for wounds
- a higher risk of complications after surgery

Eventually, a person may also experience difficulty breathing and heart failure.


If a person shows any signs of malnutrition, the first step will be to find out why.
It may be Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or another condition. Laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis will be needed. Treating these conditions can improve a person’s nutritional status.
Others tests may includes:
- blood tests for general screening and monitoring
- tests for specific nutrients, such as iron or vitamins
- prealbumin tests, as malnutrition commonly affects levels of this protein
- albumin tests, which may indicate liver or kidney disease


If a doctor diagnoses malnutrition, they will make a treatment plan for the person. The person may also need to meet with a nutritionist and other healthcare providers. Treatment will depend on the severity of the malnutrition and the presence of any other underlying conditions or complications.
It may include:
ongoing screening and monitoring
making a dietary plan, which might include taking supplements
treating specific symptoms, such as nausea
treating any infections that may be present
checking for any mouth or swallowing problems
suggesting alternative eating utensils

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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