Malnutrition and Parkinson’s disease paper


According to WHO (2016), malnutrition refers to the deficit, excesses, and imbalances on an individual’s energy and nutrient intake. It involves stunting, wasting, underweight, and insufficiencies in micronutrients. Appropriate detection and management is a priority to avert the poor outcomes, which include risk for osteoporosis and hospitalization, decreased quality of life, and longer recovery from disease (Sheard et al. 2013). Malnutrition is common in patients with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder described by motor symptoms such as rigidity and tremors. These patients undergo unintentional weight loss due to the symptoms associated with the disease and side effects of medication.

Article findings

A recent study was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s disease. It found that about 30% of patients with moderate and mild PD are at a higher risk for malnutrition (Kimberly, 2014). The researchers of the article theorized that individuals with PD experience strain in food preparation and ingestion due to the rigidity and tremors. Furthermore, these patients go through constipation, depression, and anxiety, which results in loss of appetite. The study was carried out on two groups of people from Iran. It included 143 patients living with mild to moderate PD and 145 patients of the same age and gender. Patients with diabetes and hypertension were excluded from the study.
A qualitative method of research was carried out in the study. The participants were interviewed individually on their diet, health perception, and appetite. The researchers also assessed their body mass index, weight, arm, and calf circumferences. Psychological stress, weight loss, consumption of fruits and vegetables, calf and arm circumference, was found to be dramatically lower in the patients with Parkinson’s disease as compared to the other patients.

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Evidence for practice

Firstly, it is imperative to screen the patients for malnutrition on admission. This can be done through the use of a malnutrition screening tool and a prompt judgment on whether the patient’s illness possesses a risk for malnutrition. If screening detects a high risk of malnutrition, immediate intervention should be made. The intervention portion of nutritional care includes nutrition status assessment, diagnosis of malnutrition, and treatment implementation. Mini-Nutritional assessment can be used for older patients with Parkinson’s Disease (Correia et al. 2014). Following assessment, an individualized plan is created that specifies the treatment method. Treatment involves decision making about how much to feed when to feed, and what to feed. The final step to supervene and follow up with the patient and providing constant attention to attain nutritional needs. A post-discharge plan should be available and implemented.

Sharing of evidence

I would share the knowledge with nurses by holding a seminar or conference, where they can learn about a nutritional care pathway for patients with Parkinson’s disease. I would need resources such as an LED projector to display the information. Sharing the evidence for practice is imperative in lowering the risk of malnutrition in Parkinson’s disease patients and improves their quality of life.


In conclusion, patients with Parkinson’s disease are at a higher risk of malnutrition. It is, therefore, imperative that measures are taken to prevent its occurrence. Proper nutrition is essential for promoting overall health and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. It is also vital to share information on the prevention and management of malnutrition with other health care workers to promote health and wellbeing.

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