Ailments & Remedies

Ailments List

Underweight

The term Underweight refers to individuals that weigh less than the recognised normal weight for their age, sex and height. It also refers to a BMI (Body Mass Index) of less than 18.5. Some causes for being underweight are: malnutrition, bulimia, anorexia, tuberculosis, diabetes, cancer, hyperthyroidism and other diseases.

 

Around the world humans are underweight mainly because of malnutrition due to the unavailability of adequate food. Malnutrition can run as high as in 50% of the population in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. The effects and symptoms of primary malnutrition may be worsened by disease; even easily treatable diseases such as diarrhoea may lead to death in underdeveloped countries with non-adequate resources and treatments.

 

Where adequate food resources are available, being underweight can at times be the result of mental or physical disease as the ones mentioned above.

 

The most immediate concern with being underweight is that it might be the consequence or the symptom for an underlying disease. Where unexplained weight loss is evident, it is necessary to gain a professional medical diagnosis.

Underweight can also be a condition in itself. Severely underweight individuals may have poor physical stamina and a weak immune system, leaving them open to contracting infection. People who are underweight due to malnutrition can be affected not only by inadequate caloric intake, but also by inadequate intake and absorption of other vital nutrients like essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

 

In women, being severely underweight can result in reduced or absent menstruation (amenorrhea) and possible complications during pregnancy. It can also cause anaemia and hair loss.

 

Underweight is a confirmed risk factor for osteoporosis, also in young people. This is a particularly dangerous consequence as the affected individuals are not aware of the danger and can feel fit and perform well at endurance sports, for example. After the occurrence of the first spontaneous fractures the damage is often already irreversible.

If an individual is severely underweight and health problems develop, it will be necessary to make a concentrated effort to gain weight. Treatment for an underweight individual mainly consists in increasing food energy consumption, increasing it to a level where it is greater than the energy spent by the body through life and work. It is also usually recommended to undertake weight training  to increase muscle mass.

 

If weight loss is the consequence of a disease, resolving the illness and consuming adequate calories and other important nutrients can bring many underweight individuals to a healthy body weight and mass.



Common Remedies

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