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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Physical examination of the state of nutrition entails a thorough clinical examination to look for:

  • general signs of deficiency:
    • hair: frail, loose, lanugo
    • skin: petechiae, purpura, thinness
    • lips: cheilosis, angular fissure
    • papillae atrophy of tongue
    • salivary gland enlargement
    • peripheral oedema
  • the stigmata of specific deficiencies e.g. poorly-healing wounds with vitamin C deficiency
  • assessing body stores of fat e.g. tissue overlying biceps and triceps in the arm
  • assessing body stores of protein e.g. temporalis, supraspinatus and interosseous muscles
  • the extent of physiological dysfunction e.g.:
    • activity and mobility around ward
    • ability to blow match out as a crude measure of respiratory muscle function
    • hand grip dynanometry
  • anthropometric measures

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