Not getting enough protein in your diet can lead to a host of ailments, and seniors are one of the groups most at risk of seeing issues related to this. Once you turn 70, the amount of protein you used to eat that may have been enough to sustain you may not be the case anymore—mostly because seniors eat less food than they did at a young age. 

The following is especially important information for a caregiver to have because they’re oftentimes setting the diet and meal plan for those they are entrusted with caring for. 

Centers Choice Home Care has a look at the signs of protein deficiency and what you can do to make sure that this isn’t an issue for your loved one. 

Protein Deficiency Rare in U.S.—Except in High-Risk Groups

Studies show that protein deficiency affects around one billion people worldwide but is rare in the United States. High-risk groups, however, tend to be among those who do have issues in this country. That includes those over 70 years of age and people with digestive issues like Celiac or Crohn’s disease. Vegans and vegetarians can also have problems if they do not get enough protein from non-meat sources.

What Are the Signs?

Weakness and fatigue are signs of mild protein deficiency, but moderate cases cause more worrying results: muscle atrophy, thinning hair, brittle nails, and flaky skin. If protein deficiency falls into the severe category, serious health problems can result, such as stomach bloating, liver failure, split skin, and weak and thinning bones. 

For healthy people, the recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, so someone weighing 150 pounds would need 54 grams of protein a day. 

The Cure: Eat More Protein!

Doctors will usually instruct those deficient to just eat more protein to see if symptoms improve. In addition to meat and seafood, good sources include nuts and seeds (almonds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds), legumes like lentils and beans, eggs, dairy products, and whole grains like quinoa. 

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