Inanition refers to a state of malnutrition and can arise from a multiplicity of causes. These include acute infections, impaired cognition, heart failure, dysphagia (swallowing problems), dementia, delirium, depression, malignancies and adverse effects arising from medications.
Inanition can adversely affect the immune system of sufferers, resulting in increased susceptibility to infections and has also been associated with poor wound healing in persons undergoing surgery. In addition, a state of malnutrition has a negative impact on a person’s physical functioning and strength and can result in an increased risk of falls and a higher risk of functional dependency.
Some of the causes of inanition may be amenable to medical intervention, while others that are non-reversible may be managed by other strategies such as the use of nutritional supplements or alternative feeding techniques.
If you, or your relative, have suffered unintentional weight loss of greater than 3 kg over the past three months, you should consider an assessment by your doctor.