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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Malnutrition occurs when you do not get enough calories or nutrients to keep you healthy. Nutrients include protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
You may need any of the following:
- Vitamins and minerals may be needed to replace vitamins and minerals your body needs. They may be given in your IV, as a shot, or as a pill.
- Appetite stimulants are medicines that help improve your appetite so you will want to eat more.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Increase calories and nutrients. A dietitian may help you plan larger, healthy meals. If you have trouble eating larger meals, eat small meals throughout the day. You may need to include snacks between meals. You may need to eat or drink a nutrition supplement if you have trouble eating the right kinds and amounts of food.
- Find support. If you cannot buy or prepare the right kinds of foods, talk to your healthcare provider. Ask for information about community programs that can help you.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You lose a large amount of weight within a short amount of time.
- You feel depressed, confused, tired, irritable, and you do not feel like eating.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have pain in your chest, back, neck, jaw, stomach, or down one or both arms.
- You have shortness of breath.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.