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Diabetes patients at risk of malnutrition

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There are 2.9 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and the incidence may be as high as one in five in some age groups.1 The incidence of malnutrition in people with diabetes is unknown, but it is estimated that in the UK general population, malnutrition affects more than three million people, of which 2.8 million are in the community.2

Malnutrition is a condition where a deficiency, or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue/body form (body shape, size and composition) and function and clinical outcome.3

Diabetes and malnutrition
This article focuses on malnutrition as undernutrition. Malnutrition predisposes patients to disease, delays recovery from illness, and adversely affects body function, wellbeing and clinical outcome.

People with diabetes are already at risk of poor healing and poor health outcomes because of the complications of the disease. Despite the increased risk in this vulnerable group malnutrition is often unrecognised and untreated. The community nurse is in ideal position to improve early identification of malnutrition and put in place early intervention measures to prevent unnecessary hospital admission.

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