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If you live with a medical condition, or are experiencing an illness, you may have lost your appetite, and are now worrying about losing weight without trying. 

If so, you might be at risk of what’s known as disease-related malnutrition.   

Disease-related malnutrition

Living with a medical condition or illness can make it more difficult to eat, digest or absorb food. This means your body may not be getting all the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy, which can lead to poor nutritional health.  This in turn puts you at risk of disease related malnutrition, even if you are overweight or normally eat well.  

Disease-related malnutrition can affect your quality of life. It can 

  • Affect how well your body works 
  • Affect recovery from illness 
  • Cause you to feel weak  
  • Increase your chance of getting an infection 
  • Cause wounds to heal more slowly than normal. 

Resources to help you improve your nutritional health

The Patients Association has been working with patients, carers and experts in the field of nutritional health to create a set of resources to help individuals who are experiencing problems eating, unintentional weight loss or poor nutrition due to disease-related malnutrition. 

The resources — two factsheets and an animation — help you to identify your risk for disease-related malnutrition and signs to look out for, describe how oral nutritional supplements can be used as a treatment for disease-related malnutrition, and provide tips on where to get advice and further information to ensure that your nutritional health is the best it can be.   

Both these factsheets are PDFs, which you can download if you like. 

About Disease-Related Malnutrition         About Oral Nutritional Supplements 

Disease-related malnutrition information video

About the resources

More than three million people in the UK are at risk of malnutrition and many are unaware of their risk.  But there are treatments and support for patients, and we believe that with the right knowledge, tools, and support, patients can manage their nutritional health.  That’s why we launched this project, with the goal of producing educational resources based on what patients and carers told us they would find useful.

The resources were developed in partnership with patients and carers, supported by a steering group made up of clinicians, experts in nutritional health, and patient advocates. This project was supported by an educational grant from Nutricia Ltd. We thank our partners for their guidance, input and involvement.   

You can read more about why and how we developed the resources and the many people who supported their development, in our report on this project.

For further information please click here.