Weight Loss in the Elderly: A sign of something more serious
We are not talking about that healthy weight loss trend that everyone is talking about these days with all that noise about exercise and healthy eating. This topic focuses on worrying indicators that this size-dropping issue could be pointing out since weight loss in the elderly is a sign of something more serious. Either sudden as 10 pounds in a month or progressive as 20 pounds in a year, these changes need a closer look and a proper medical attention as soon as possible since most diseases and conditions can be treated in their early stages.
You would be surprised by the long and exhaustive list of conditions that could be causing this abnormal pound drop on this older population, to name a few here are some of the most repeated conditions:
- Dysphagia (swallowing problems)
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- Liver failure
- Heart conditions
- Renal failure
Weight loss in the elderly is a frequent health condition in that age group, being 15% of seniors suffering from that health issue. Although it might be difficult to evaluate, the accuracy of this evaluation is essential to diagnose any possible conditions causing this weight loss.
As part of the consequences of weight loss in the elderly are the decreased immunocompetence, muscle wasting, emotional affections and an increased rate of disease complications. In fact, various studies, as reported by the American Academy of Family Physicians Journal, showed a strong relation between serious diseases or conditions and weight loss, most leading to a high mortality rate. They also shared that one of those studies said that nursing home patients who lose 10% of their body weight would encounter themselves with a terminal diagnosis in the following six months regardless of the cause or disease.
A senior care blog I found called A Place for Mom, talks about warning signs that are key in any further study and consequent diagnosis like constipation, loss of appetite (a big cause of concern), depression and loss of smell or taste (with are among the results of the aging process).
Besides keeping an eye out for any important weight changes it is necessary to care for their quality of life, maintain a nice and healthy environment to avoid any lack of appetite that might not be related to any disease. Supplement and nutrition products can be a great aid in managing any weight loss in the elderly as well as a good daily activity plan.