Signs & Effects of Malnutrition

Contrary to what some may believe, malnutrition and dehydration are commonplace in nursing homes and in some cases, the sole cause of death. This is often due to under staffing and the negligent prescribing of appetite suppressing drugs. The following is a list of Physical Signs of Malnutrition:

  • Hair – Dry, dull, no shine, hair loss,
  • Eyes – Pale mucus membranes,
  • Lips – Red, swelling, fissures or scars at the corners,
  • Gums – Red, swollen, spongy,
  • Mouth – Dry, scaling, angular fissures,
  • Tongue – Red or purple, smooth, inflamed,
  • Face – Lack of color, hallowed cheeks, scaling of skin,
  • Nails – Fragile or spoon shaped,
  • Skin – Slow wound healing, bruising, lack of fat, dry, flaky or edema,
  • GI – Diarrhea, anorexia,
  • Muscles – Weakness, wasting, peripheral neuropathy,
  • Nervous System – Listlessness, loss of vibratory sense

Effects of Malnutrition

  • Loss of muscle mass,
  • General fatigue and weakness,
  • Lack of initiative,
  • Low lab values of protein status,
  • Impaired immune response and frequent infections,
  • Apathy,
  • Depression,
  • Impaired organ function,
  • Change of behavior and personality,
  • Complete exhaustion,
  • Death