Malnutrition is a medical condition, which arises due to low intake of nutrients into the body. It is even seen as the greatest epidemic in the developing countries as there are no adequate food supplies. However, very few people know that Malnutrition can occur by both undernutrition as well as overnutrition. Undernutrition takes place, when the body is deprived of essential nutrients due to lack of food, poor diet or malabsorption. On the other hand, over nutrition occurs, when the body is taking too many nutrients, resulting in an imbalance in nutrient level. Though there are many causes for its occurrence, its diagnosis is of prime importance. Given below are the symptoms of Malnutrition, which should be looked out for.
- Eyes - The eyelids can be swollen or inflamed. The cornea of the eye can become soft. The bluish tinge of the white of the eyes can disappear. In an advanced stage, the inner surface of the eye might seem dull, lusterless and rough.
- Face -When the mouth of the patient is held half open, angular wrinkles emerging out the mouth can be seen. They can become scars in advanced stages. A mucous lining can develop inside the mouth, which might protrude out and appear to be a part of lips. Deep cracks and reddening is also visible on the lips and corners of the mouth.
- Glands - A swollen Thyroid gland just below the Adams apple is the clear indication of malnutrition. The salivary glands of people with malnutrition swell like mumps.
- Mouth - Taste buds can completely disappear in case of malnutrition. Patients suffer with sores and reddening inside the mouth, with white patches of fungus on the tongue.
- Muscles - The muscles start wearing away slowly. This is because, for the generation of energy body starts utilizing the muscles, saving the fat for emergency. Muscles start appearing like jelly and lose their toning.
- Skin - The skin complexion becomes dull and yellow. ‘Xerosis’, meaning dry and crinkled skin is the term used to describe the condition of the skin. The color under the nails also fades away. It is known as ‘Follicular Hyperkeratosis’, which appears like goose bumps but don't go away even if the patient is warm.
- Teeth - Tooth decay is also a symptom of malnutrition. The enamel of the teeth can be dotted with white patches. Teeth can also don brown stains accompanied by pitting. Gums can swell, with puss emerging from the bone below the gum line. The bone and teeth become easily breakable.
- Psychological - The patient becomes unresponsive and disinterested in the surroundings. Listlessness, weariness and apathy are some of the common symptoms. In addition, dullness, irritability and poor memory are also noticed.