From WikiMD's Health & Wellness Encyclopedia

Other namesUndernutrition
Angolan Children (11970276025)
SpecialtyNutrition, general medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics
SymptomsFatigue, dizziness, weight loss,
muscle weakness, weakened immune system, swollen and bleeding gums,
decaying teeth, slowed reaction times, growth problems in children, anemia
Usual onsetCan occur at any age, often seen in
poverty-stricken areas and in the elderly
DurationCan be short-term or long-term depending
on the cause and if treatment is received
CausesInsufficient, excessive or unbalanced diet,
inability to absorb foods, diseases, socio-economic and living conditions
Risk factorsPoverty, lack of access to quality food,
certain diseases, age (children and elderly are at higher risk), pregnancy
Diagnostic methodBased on physical examination, dietary history,
body mass index (BMI), and various laboratory tests
TreatmentDietary changes, nutritional supplements,
treating underlying conditions
MedicationVitamin and mineral supplements

Malnutrition is a significant global health concern that occurs when a person's diet does not provide the necessary amount of nutrients for the body to function effectively, or when the body cannot adequately absorb the nutrients from food.


Symptoms of malnutrition can vary greatly depending on the type and severity of nutrient deficiency. Common signs include fatigue, dizziness, unintended weight loss, muscle weakness, and a weakened immune system. More severe symptoms can include swollen and bleeding gums, decaying teeth, slowed reaction times, and, in children, slowed growth and development.


Malnutrition can result from an insufficient or excessive diet, an unbalanced diet, or an inability to properly absorb nutrients from food. This can be due to various factors, including poverty, socio-economic conditions, lack of access to quality food, certain diseases and conditions, and age (children and the elderly are at higher risk).


Diagnosis of malnutrition involves a comprehensive evaluation that includes a physical examination, dietary history, calculation of body mass index (BMI), and various laboratory tests. This can help identify any nutrient deficiencies and determine the underlying cause of malnutrition.


The primary goal of treatment for malnutrition is to address the underlying cause and restore nutritional balance. This can involve dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and treatment of underlying conditions. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.

See Also


Latest articles - Malnutrition

Clinical trials
Up To Date
Medline plus
You Tube
YouTube videos
Apple bitten.svg

WikiMD is the world's largest, free medical and wellness encyclopedia edited only by professionals.


Navigation: Wellness - Encyclopedia - Health topics - Disease Index‏‎ - Drugs - Rare diseases - Gray's Anatomy - USMLE - Hospitals

Ad: Tired of being Overweight? Try W8MD's insurance physician weight loss
Philadelphia medical weight loss & NYC medical weight loss.

WikiMD is not a substitute for professional medical advice. See full disclaimer.

Credits:Most images are courtesy of Wikimedia commons, and templates Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY SA or similar.

Contributors: Admin, Prab R. Tumpati, MD