Dental Trouble Tied to Malnutrition Among Some Seniors

Among older adults, malnutrition is common, often missed by healthcare providers, and influences recovery from illness or injury. Scientists identified modifiable risk factors associated with malnutrition in older patients. They found that multiple modifiable factors associated with the problem of malnutrition in older adults.


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Malnutrition is defined as the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced consumption of nutrients. As it defines, it caused by lack of nutrition in your diet. Scientists also found one other reason that causes malnutrition. They have found that major dental problems link to malnutrition among some seniors.

Poor oral health is the major causes that lead older adults suffering from malnutrition.

Professor Tim Platts said, “For patients who don’t have enough food at home, the solution is pretty obvious and likely much less expensive than paying for the medical care that results from malnutrition.”

“There is an existing national system of food assistance programs, such as Meals on Wheels, and we believe we can use the emergency department to link patients in need to those programs.”

In this study, scientists involved 252 patients with the age of 65 and above. The participants were seeking treatment in emergency departments in North Carolina, Michigan, and New Jersey. Next scientists screened participants and analyzed the risk factor in them.

Scientists found almost 12% prevalence of nutrition deficiency. At the other side, patients receiving care in the North Carolina emergency department had the 15% of nutrition deficiency. This rate is stated as highest rate for malnutrition.

When scientists studied risk factor, scientists found that oral health had the largest impact on malnutrition. Almost half of the participants in the study had some dental problems.

The study noted, “Ten percent of patients experienced food insecurity—as evidenced by their responses to questions about not having enough food, eating fewer meals, and going to bed hungry. Further, food insecurity was strongly associated with malnutrition. Other factors that may contribute to other problems include social isolation, depression, medication side effects, and limited mobility.”

Study’s lead author, Collin Burks said, “Improving oral health in older adults will be more challenging but also important. Fixing dental problems not only makes it easier for these individuals to eat but also can improve their self-esteem, quality of life, and overall health.”


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