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What is malnutrition?

  1. Malnutrition is quite common, especially in the chronically ill and the elderly. And not only with skinny people, also people with a curvier can be malnourished. Weight loss is usually the first signal. What symptoms should you keep an eye out for? And what is the treatment?

  1. With clothing that suddenly becomes much looser and sunken cheeks, the alarm bells should ring. A little weight loss does not seem like a big deal, but the problem is mainly that the muscle tissue decreases. The strength and energy can therefore run backwards. The risk of falling and therefore of bone fractures increases. Due to the lack of nutrients, the body can no longer function properly and the resistance can deteriorate. Do you notice in your environment that someone's appetite decreases or that food is often 'forgotten'? Then set a fixed weighing moment. For example every two weeks or once a month. See a doctor if your weight has decreased by more than 5 percent in the last month or by more than 10 percent in the past six months. And provide extra protein and calories.

Extra risk

  1. The risk of malnutrition is higher in some diseases than in others, for example poorly controlled diabetes. Extra attention must also be paid to medicines that reduce appetite and swallowing or dental problems. And in situations where the body loses a lot of nutrients, for example through diarrhea, vomiting or fever, it is sometimes impossible to eat it and urgent action is needed. Notify the doctor if someone is unable to eat and drink for more than three days. Malnutrition and dehydration are then a real danger.

What can you do yourself?

  1. Calories (energy) and proteins, that's what it's all about in the fight against malnutrition. The proteins are needed to rebuild the lost muscle tissue. Provide this extra nutritional concern: Write down what someone eats and drinks for a day. You can show this to the doctor or dietician. Try to eat at least six times a day. Rather six small meals a day than two or three large ones. Provide plenty of tasty protein-rich snacks at home that can be packed right away, even if you are not there: fruit curd, pudding, milk, yogurt, custard, vanilla ice cream, nuts, slices of sausage, cubes of cheese, kibbeling, toast with salmon or a boiled egg. Try not to drink empty calories, but always something with proteins. So rather milk or drinking yoghurt than lemonade or soft drink. Cover the bread with a double savory filling. For example with cheese and ham or soft goat cheese and raw ham. Spread the bread with butter or margarine. Give a generous portion of meat or fish with a hot meal. Protein-rich liquid nutrition can be ordered from pharmacies, home care shops or through organizations such as Sorgente, Nutricia or Mediq Tefa. In some cases this is reimbursed by the health insurer. The general practitioner or dietician can apply for reimbursement.

Dementia and malnutrition

  1. Malnutrition is common in dementia. First of all try to find out what the cause is. Are you still able to open packs and bottles? Does anyone still know where to find the fridge? Can you heat up meals or spread bread? Â € ¨ It can help to provide directions. A note with the coffee maker with instructions, a sticker with 'fridge' on the fridge and poured bowls of custard or cups of milk ready-to-eat in the fridge. Is someone simply not thinking about food or drink anymore? Ask the visitor and also the home help to offer something to eat and drink. A

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