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Poverty and starvation may go hand in hand, which is why lack of proper nutrition could occur due to poverty. A person is said to be malnourished when the body's needs for nutrients are not satisfied due to inadequate intake of food. At times, malnutrition could be due to poor dietary habits. For instance, one's diet might not be balanced. The body's needs for certain nutrients might not be fulfilled due to a poor diet, which in turn would lead to nutritional deficiencies. Sometimes, malnutrition is so severe that it can lead to complications. Also, one could be malnourished, if one's body is unable to absorb certain nutrients due to certain medical conditions.

Due to poor nutrition, the vital body processes that are essential for the healthy functioning of the body get disrupted. Poverty is often a contributing factor for starvation and malnourishment. Children are often badly affected. Stunted growth, abnormalities, and susceptibility to infections are often observed in such children.

Symptoms

Symptoms depend upon the underlying cause. It's important to identify the symptoms of malnutrition, as treating these symptoms is the best way to break the cycle. The symptoms include:

Weariness
Weight loss
Giddiness
Inflamed and flaky joints
Distended stomach
Vision impairment
Mumps
Measles
Osteoporosis
Weak muscles

It could lead to diseases such as:

Hypokalemia
Nutritional deficiency
Anemia
Marasmus
Goiter

Deficiency of vitamin A could result in:

Night blindness
Permanent blindness
Vulnerability to infections
Anhydrous skin
Food aversion

Vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency could cause symptoms such as:

Beriberi
Weariness
Lethargy

Signs of vitamin B2 deficiency include:

Glossitis
Cheilosis
Redness of the mouth
Sore throat

Vitamin B3 triggers pellagra, which causes the following symptoms:

Insomnia
Dementia
Photosensitivity

The deficiency of vitamin B12 gives rise to symptoms such as:

Memory loss
White spots on skin
Headache

The symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include:

Bleeding gums
Increased vulnerability to infections

The most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

Osteomalacia
Weak bones

Malnutrition can lead to a condition called marasmus, which might cause the following symptoms:

Edema
Anhydrous and ruptured skin
Irritability

The deficiency of iodine can cause goiter, which might give rise to the following symptoms:

Increased tolerance to cold
Inflamed or enlarged thyroid gland
Difficulty in breathing and swallowing

Blood tests and nutritional evaluation would be conducted in case of individuals that appear to be affected by malnutrition. The treatment involves following a healthy, balanced diet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.