Training, key to detect malnutrition in the elderly


Adequate training for health personnel helps to detect the degree of malnutrition in the elderly and thus provide timely care. Photo: Illustrative

Mexico, April 19 (Notimex) .- Adequate training for health personnel helps detect the degree of undernutrition in the elderly and thus provide timely care, said Dr. Eduardo Sosa Tinoco, MD, a geriatrician and professor of public health .

The specialist linked to the National Institute of Geriatrics of the Ministry of Health noted that one of the serious problems that prevents the reduction of the presence of malnutrition in older adults is that some physicians presume that losing weight or muscle can be a normal alteration of aging.

Malnutrition can aggravate problems such as Alzheimer's dementia, depression, falls, disability or frailty, among others, Sosa Tinoco said in a statement.

According to the doctor, in 2017, based on the estimates of the project global burden of disease, about 3,300 people over 70 died of malnutrition.

Protein-calorie malnutrition, a more particular category of this disease, affected about 135,000 people aged 70 and over, the geriatrician said.

He explained that the highest number of cases of malnutrition is recorded in the states of Mexico, Veracruz, Jalisco and Puebla, and with fewer cases in Baja California Sur, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Colima and Tlaxcala.

He warned that the decrease in intake is one of the first features of malnutrition, a situation that continues to mean a weight loss of more than five percent in six months, making it one of the signs to seek attention.

Another point of warning is the deceleration of "stomach emptying," which makes people feel satisfied and stop eating; in addition, daily taking of medicines can alter the perception of flavors and odors, which causes loss of appetite.

Malnutrition, said the specialist, may increase the risk of complications in other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure and heart problems.

He pointed out that during Health Weeks for Large People actions are taken to detect the risks of malnutrition in the elderly, such as checking the body weight, stature, and the type of food they carry to know if they are in this condition.


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