Dietology and nutrition therapy
The Author: Latvijas Avīze / Veselības centrs 4
Dietologist is a physician, who specialises in nutrition therapy. Dietologist also refers patients to additional examinations and analyses the disease (if such is present!). Afterwards, by compiling diets, nutrition plans, favourably affects the course of the disease or helps eliminating aesthetic problems of human body (obesity, pimples, etc.), without harming the health and, most importantly, provides food advice to reduce the risk of the development of chronic diseases. This is especially important for people, who are already at risk, for instance, who are overweight, have elevated blood pressure or blood sugar level.
Nutrition specialist is a medical person, who specialises in nutrition related issues, provision of dietary advice, considering the diagnosis and instructions provided by the physician.
Nutrition needs differ depending on different periods of life, they differ in males and females, they are determined, among others, by physical activity, bodily constitution and several other factors.
Furthermore, there are several health problems (diseases), the development of which requires consultations with a dietologist. For instance, diabetes mellitus, elevated blood level of cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, elevated blood pressure, oncological diseases, gastric and intestinal surgeries (due to the risk of nutrient absorption problems), chronic renal disease with haemodialysis or without it, or with peritoneal dialysis, inflammatory intestinal diseases, chronic constipation, etc. In this event, a conclusion (diagnosis) of the attending physician is required.
Dietary physician must be informed on medications vitamins, dietary supplement that are used, food habits – vegetarian, vegan or a person, who does not use a certain group of products for some reason, for instance, dairy products.
Information on dietary habits is found out in detail, including daily menu, as well as all product groups – what and how much a particular patient uses. Frequently patients are asked to keep their dietary diary. The patient must reveal their lifestyle factors: physical activities, sleep quality and harmful habits.
The patient will be examined during the consultation – their body type, skin, fat accumulations will be evaluated, as well as measurements of patient''s height ad weight will be performed. Frequently, the bioimpedance measurement is performed to analyse body structure (percentage of fat, muscle mass, amount of water), as well as metabolism will be assessed.
Diet physician provides particular recommendations on the choice of food (recommended and undesirable products), nutrition schedule, meals, size of dishes, as well as, if possible, required dietary supplement (medicinal nutrition, vitamins, etc.).
If the patient needs to lose weight, the dietologist is the one, who monitors to ensure that excessive reduction in muscle mass does not occur, that the condition of skin does not deteriorate, that the diet is wholesome, in order to prevent health problems.
Six alarm signals that point to the need of visiting a dietologist:
- Decline of the body mass (unless they have intentionally tried to reduce body mass) over the last three, and especially, last one month. This also applies to the cases, when the patient knows that it is connected with a recent acute disease or surgery.
- If the patient has had a gastrointestinal surgery – stomach or part of intestine has been removed, liquid stools, inability to gain weight.
- Gaining weight over the period of the last six years that the patient cannot explain themselves.
- The patient is overweight (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Especially, if the excessive weight decreases the health status, for instance, joint pain appears.
- Level of sugar, cholesterol, uric acid cannot be regulated.
- Chronic renal disease (renal failure) is present.