Nutrition Focused Exam to Diagnose Digestive Problems

It is part of every medical team and even as parents that you perform an assessment in order to know the nutritional status of another person. Information obtained from nutrition focused physical exam of the person assists in establishing diagnosis and provides a basis for the plan of care. The information assists the medical team in recognizing the needs of the patient and in evaluating actions and the progress of the patient.In addition to being the basis for setting nutritional care objectives, the nutritional assessment has special significance in gastrointestinal disorders. The food intake and dietary recall is taken and the height and weight of the person is compared to the tabular range of ideal body weight. A good dietary history can alert the evaluator to potential nutritional problems. Illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal disorders, will tend to worsen borderline nutritional status. Using the history, plans can be made and an expert dietitian can help with the nutritional problems.The nutrition focused exam can indicate or reveal changes or patterns of eating that reflect characteristic symptoms of illness or disorders. For example, in peptic ulcer disorders, pain may be worse when the stomach is empty and relief is obtained by eating. When a specific problem such as gastrointestinal pain is mentioned, it is important to assess its relationship to the dietary patterns of the patient.The type of food eaten by individuals varies markedly. Differences may be related to economic factors, ethnic factors and lifestyle such as eating most meals at fast food establishments where the choices of food may be limited. In addition, most food may be eaten hurriedly rather than in a relaxed atmosphere. The number of meals eaten and the choice of foods are important. For example, some individuals may omit breakfast. Others may choose high calorie snack foods with low nutrient value, which may contribute to the problem of obesity unless they are very active.Part of the nutrition assessment will also include inspection. For instance when you check the abdomen, you must see for the presence of rashes, lesions and scars. Observe also for the presence of bulging or hernia on the umbilicus. Normally, it is flat; however it may appear scaphoid in an emaciated or very thin person. It will be rounded in the obese adult. It may be distended with fluid in a patient with ascites or with gas.As with other assessment for other parts of the body, it is important that you need to know and see for yourself what the normal characteristics are to be able to see the difference and compare when you will be faced with different abnormalities. To evaluate and tell that there is a gastrointestinal problem, you must have the knowledge and a quick eye for different signs of abnormalities.A nutrition focused exam really helps in the diagnosis of any problems related to nutrition especially that of the problems of the digestive system. Taking up the nutritional history coupled with a physical exam will help in finally making up the plans in solving problems.

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