Disease Related Malnutrition can arise for several reasons. The main causes include, amongst others, a disease, the inability to eat or swallow as a result of a medical condition or after surgery, decreased appetite, an allergy or inability to tolerate or metabolize an essential nutrient.
Disease related malnutrition, as a result of inadequate nutritional intake during illness, can lead to frailty via loss of muscle mass, when body strength and walking speed are both reduced. This in turn reduces a patient's overall activity and energy levels. The vicious circle of reduced energy leading to more restrictions on physical activity can eventually lead to a loss of independence. Frail patients need extra medical attention to stay as independent for as long as possible and reducing the risk of them becoming dependent on others.
Conditions of aging, such as weight loss, declining muscle mass (‘sarcopenia’) and frailty, are often viewed as an inevitable part of growing old – not associated with a patient’s nutritional intake. In fact, as we get older, nutrition becomes an even greater factor in terms of its influence on functional ability.
Research suggests that nutritional intervention with medical nutrition products as part of a comprehensive medical strategy has been effective at helping patients return to a healthy aging trajectory.