Clinical Consequences of Malnutrition

Serious Health Consequences if Left Untreated
Malnutrition causes a marked decline in physical and psychological health and function. A significant body of evidence indicates that malnutrition adversely impacts recovery from disease, trauma and surgery, and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality both in acute and chronic diseases.

Significantly increased infectious complications have been found in patients “at-risk” of malnutrition compared to “not-at-risk” patients.3 In addition to contributing to a poorer quality of life,4 malnutrition prolongs the average length of a hospital stay by more than 30 percent in affected patients.5,6

Malnutrition can affect every organ of the patient with potentially serious consequences for the whole body/metabolism. The clinical and functional consequences of malnutrition include:1,2

A Vicious Cycle of Health Consequences

A further consequence of malnutrition is the reduced ability to adequately respond to medical and pharmacological treatment, including chemotherapy. Malnutrition, disease and treatment can result in a vicious cycle which must be overcome by treating the underlying disease and providing adequate nutritional support at the same time.6


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