Malnutrition Is Common in Life with Crohn’s Disease

Malnutrition Is Common in Life with Crohn’s Disease
When you have Crohn’s disease, malnutrition is a fairly common diagnosis and can be dangerous if it gets bad enough. Crohn’s disease often prevents the body from properly digesting food and absorbing nutrients necessary to thrive. Being malnourished is a direct result of malnutrition. What does it mean to have malnutrition? Malnutrition occurs when there aren’t enough nutrients in the body either due to a poor diet or a medical condition that complicates nutrient absorption. Crohn’s disease causes inflammation throughout the digestive tract, but most commonly the small intestine, which is where critical nutrient absorption takes place. Long-term inflammation can damage the lining of the intestines, interfering with the organs' ability to absorb nutrients. Surgery on the intestines is another risk factor for malnutrition, especially small intestine resections. Intestinal surgery decreases the amount of space in which your body can absorb nutrients. If the intestine becomes short enough, a rare condition known as short bowel syndrome can occur. How is malnutrition diagnosed? Your doctor may look into several types of nutritional deficiencies. Symptoms associated with malnutrition include: General fatigue Unintentional weight loss Problems with concentration Muscle weakness Loss of muscle mass Longer recovery time from injury or illness Bloodwork is used in diagnosis to check the body's general nutrition levels, as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. One blood test that doctors will look at is the albumin level. Albumin levels give doctors a better idea of how your body is doing, as low levels can indicate inflammation, lack of protein, and malnutrition associated with Crohn’s disease. There are numerous vitamins and mineral
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