Malnutrition is a hidden epidemic in older Americans

Malnutrition is a widespread problem for many, but is noticed to be affecting an increasing number of older Americans. The problem is so dangerous because there are few detectable symptoms in the early stages. The nutrient deficiencies can creep up and severely affect many older people. The homeless elderly are especially at risk and, as this population is increasing alarmingly in cities throughout America, the threat to their lives is real. Malnutrition can affect up to half of older adults and can become a very frightening potential for tragedy on a large scale. Some symptoms are severe weight loss, fainting, hair loss, fatigue, and dizziness. Having blood work done is really the only way of diagnosing malnutrition and eliminating other medical causes. If left untreated, malnutrition can lead to disabilities, both mental and physical, other illness, or death.


Increased age increases the risks of diseases and conditions that weaken the body. It has been reported that up to 65% of hospitalized older adults risk malnutrition, and even in such an environment, it remains hard to detect. Nutrient deficiency threatens even those with healthy diets, and to combat this, things like vitamins are vital in fighting off this condition. The most effective vitamins needed would be Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, and the eight B-vitamins. Of course, multivitamins are not the cure for malnutrition; it only helps by adding with micronutrients to the diet, but they are one of the few precautions one can take to fight malnutrition.