Patients typically enter a spiral of decline in which inadequate nutrition leads to muscle weakness, increasing frailty and risk of costly injury (falls, etc.) and disability.
Frailty is a medical condition that affects both the brain and the body, and that can leave older patients vulnerable, both immediately and in the future. With little strength left in reserve, frail patients often have a low resistance to even the most minor of illnesses, meaning something like a urinary tract infection can result in a greater risk of the onset of disability or even institutionalization.
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.