We are not supporting this browser

Disease Related Malnutrition case study

Mary's story

Mary case study

Mary was struggling to keep weight on because of problems caused by her kidney disease

It was tricky for her to put weight on through food alone, but with the help of oral nutritional supplements, Mary started to rebuild muscle mass and got back to a healthy weight. 

Problems caused by kidney damage 

Your kidneys are essential for your wellbeing. These bean-shaped organs remove waste products from the body. They balance the fluids in your body and control blood pressure. They make the active form of vitamin D, essential for healthy bones and teeth, and regulate red blood cells, which carry oxygen around your body.

Many diseases can damage the kidneys, including diabetes and, in Mary’s case, dangerously high blood pressure (hypertension). The damage causes the kidneys to gradually stop working. Doctors call this Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which often leaves people feeling tired. CKD can also weaken bones, damage nerves and, as Mary found, lead to muscle wasting and unintentional weight loss.

Losing weight

Mary, a 62-year-old former school teacher, has only about a seventh of her normal kidney function. Because of a process called protein-energy wasting (PEW) associated with kidney disease, Mary had lost protein - the building blocks of much of the body - and fat. Both are important energy sources.

During an appointment with her consultant, Mary complained that she’d lost 5kg over the past 3 months – that’s about a tenth of her body weight. She constantly felt tired and had “no appetite”. The team asked Mary to see a dietitian.  

Mary wasn't getting enough protein and energy

Mary told the dietitian that she avoided protein-rich foods, because they tasted metallic to her. Her fatigue and weakness made cooking and going to the supermarket difficult, and she often skipped breakfast. For dinner, Mary usually microwaved ready meals, home-delivered by the local supermarket. Because of the metallic taste she usually finished only a quarter of the meat, so she wasn’t getting enough protein or energy to meet her needs. Mary was underweight and had lost a significant amount of muscle mass.

The dietitian suggested oral nutritional supplements to boost her energy and protein intake.

Nutritional support

The dietitian suggested one high-protein oral nutritional supplement daily and a modular, single-nutrient oral nutritional supplement three times a day to boost her energy and protein intake. The dietitian also explained to Mary how to fortify her food to increase her intake, for example by adding cheese or butter to dishes, or adding cream or condensed milk to puddings. 

A real improvement

Three months later, Mary is now in the healthy range for body mass and she has gained muscle. She’s getting out more, eating fewer ready meals, has more energy and a better appetite. She looks forward to the improvement continuing.

To protect the patient’s identity, her name has been changed.
Disclaimer: Nutricia products are foods for special medical purposes and should only be used under medical supervision.

You may also be interested in

Nutricia uses cookies on this website. With your consent we will use them to measure and analyze usage of the website (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisational cookies), and to present you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies). For more information please read the cookie policy.

Privacy Settings

You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

  • Strictly necessary

    They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

  • Analytical cookies

    They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

  • Personalisation cookies

    They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalisation. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

  • Targeting cookies

    They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.