Physical Signs Indicative of Malnutrition

Hair: dull, dry, sparse, loss of curl, easily lost
Eyes: dull, pale, redness and fissuring of eyelid corners (lack of vitamin B6 and niacin), bitot's spots, dry eye membranes, soft cornea (lack of vitamin A)
Skin: dry, flaky sandpaper feel, (lack of fat and vitamin A), edematous (lack of protein), red, swolllen dispigmentation around nostrils (lack of niacin), excessive darkness (lack of folate and B12), paleness, red or purplish petechial skin hemorrages (lack of ascorbic acid), lanugo - fine downy hair on skin surface, flaccidity - lack of subcutaneous fat, tight and drawn skin
Lips: cheilosis - swelling redness of mouth, angular fissures and scars (lack of riboflavin and niacin)
Tongue: glossitis - redness, swollen, fissuring, smooth (lack of folate), magenta color (lack of riboflavin), scarlet color (lack of niacin, B6)
Gums: spongy, bleed easily (lack of ascorbic acid)
Nails: spoon shaped, brittle, rigid
Cachetic - generalized weakness, lowered endurance and stamina
Mental confusion, has trouble concentrating, constant apathy, increased irritability

Skeletal Changes in Malnutrition

tooth loss through gum disease and decay (from lack of ascorbic acid and increased vomiting)
limb and joint pain (lack of calcium and vitamin D)
enlargement of ankles and wrists
Osteoporosis - demineralization of bone tissue (lack of calcium)
Osteomalacia (lack of vitamin D)
spinal curvature
pelvic flattening
bowing legs
knocked knees

Muscular Changes in Malnutrition

Tetany - cramping, especially at night (lack of calciam and potassium)
Ophthalmoplegia - paralysis of eye muscles (lack of thiamine)
generalized muscle wasting (lack of protein and calories)
Ataxia - loss of muscle coordination (lack of thiamine)

Organic Changes in Malnutrition

Parotid gland enlarged - swollen cheeks associated with dehydration and vomiting (lack of protein)
enlarged thyroid (lack of lodine)
Esophagitis (from vomiting often)
enlarged liver and spleen
lowered kidney function
Acrocyanosis - blue or red discoloration of extremites with profuse sweating and coldness of digits
impaired taste (lowered appetite, lack of zinc)
lowered respitory rate, lung volume, and vital capacity
impaired immune system, more susceptible to infection (lack of protein)
less cardiac muscle
lowered intestinal function
Amenorrhea - cessation of menses
Hypothermia - lowered resistance to cold
lowered metabolic rate
Edema - fluid retention

Cardio-Vascular Changes in Malnutrition

Sinus Arrhythmia (lack of potassium)
degenerative myocardial lesions, cardiac arrhythmias (lack of potassium)
depression of cardiac contractability (lack of calcium)
Bradycardia - lowered systolic, distolic and venious pressure
Blood chemistry changes
less plasma volume (lack of sodium)

Central Nervous System Changes in Malnutrition

Arethesia - burning, tingling in hands and feet (lack of thiamine, panothenic acid)
Polyneuropathy - weakness, numbness, partial paralysis in arms and legs (lack of thiamine, pryridoxine, panothenic acid)

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