IV. Lab Indicators of Malnutrition in Adults
n level tests indicate the protein status in the body. client’s nutritional status; decreased levels are suggestive of malnutrition.
Signs of Malnutrition
Serum proteins (albumin, transferrin, prealbumin, retinol-binding protein) are perhaps the most widely used laboratory measures of nutritional status.
The Basic Nutritional Panel consists of the following tests:
Serum Albumin. Albumin is the most abundant protein in human serum. It has been used for decades as an indicator of malnutrition in patients in clinically stable conditions (review and meta-analysis ). Serum albumin concentrations decrease with increasing age by approx.
But some common signs of malnutrition in older people may include their clothing, jewellery and dentures becoming loose, having a reduced appetite, lack of interest in food and drink, tiredness, altered mood, and weakness.
‘MUST’ is a five-step screening tool to identify adults, who are malnourished, at risk of malnutrition (undernutrition), or obese. It also includes management guidelines which can be used to develop a care plan. It is for use in hospitals, community and other care settings and can be used by all care workers.
Some signs and symptoms of malnutrition include:
Serum albumin increases as inflammation subsides, regardless of how much protein is consumed. Because of its relationship to inflammation, serum albumin is no longer considered a good indicator of malnutrition or protein repletion. Inflammation leads to a decrease in transferrin; iron deficiency causes it to increase.
Albumin blood test evaluates nutritional status, blood oncotic pressure, evaluation of renal disease with proteinuria, and other chronic diseases.
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition’s (ASPEN’s) Clinical Guidelines were released in January 2011, and their experts advise that albumin and prealbumin not be used in isolation to assess nutrition status because they are fundamentally markers of inflammatory metabolism (JPEN).
Hematological studies should include a CBC count with RBC indices and a peripheral smear. This could also help exclude anemias from nutritional deficiencies such as iron, folate, and vitamin B-12 deficiencies.
Recently, serum albumin has also been proposed as a critical predictor of the response to nutritional support and tolerance to enteral feeding in critically ill patients. Albumin is essential for maintenance of plasma colloidal osmotic pressure, prevention of edema, and transport of certain drugs and nutrients.
All foods have to list seven food components on their nutritional information panels – energy (kilojoules), protein, total fat, saturated fat, total carbohydrates, sugars and sodium. Manufacturers might decide to include other nutrients too, including fibre and calcium.