Unintentional weight loss is when you lose weight without intending to. About 25% of older persons have unexpected sudden weight loss, which is frequent among this population. While medical issues can occasionally play a role in abrupt Weight Loss in Old Age, this is not always the case.
When a person loses a significant amount of weight within six to twelve months without intending to do so and the weight reduction is not the consequence of dietary or lifestyle changes, it is referred to as unexplained weight loss. It’s vital to be aware of the indicators because unexpected weight loss could point to a serious health issue.
How to monitor a senior’s nutrition and weight
This is a fantastic, quick, and simple approach to keeping track of an older adult’s general health and diet.
Older people who reside at home or in assisted living should get weighed at least once a month to keep track of their weight.
The best approach to store your weight check records is in a way that makes it simple for you to bring them to the doctor’s office. Some families maintain the data in a paper chart, although it may be preferable to keep it in a shared computer file; for more information, check this article on keeping and organizing data.
The above-described method of watching for unexpected weight loss is probably the simplest technique to check for Nutritional issues.
Other warning signs to watch out for are:
- Decrease in appetite.
- Loss of mobility and/or loss of strength.
Typical Reasons for Sudden Weight Loss
An accurate diagnosis of unhealthful weight reduction depends heavily on a physical examination. Your loved one’s unexpected weight loss may be caused by a variety of circumstances. Seniors may experience weight loss due to chronic medical issues that alter their metabolism and eating patterns. As a result, you must take into account in your research any known medical disorders that could cause chemical imbalances.
The following are some of the most typical ailments that could impact abrupt weight loss:
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s
- Digestive disorders
- Heart Condition
There are many more physical causes of weight loss besides these disorders. Mobility problems could be a major factor. People with restricted movement, as a result, lose more muscle mass than fat.
Medication Side Effects
Weight loss in older persons can be a side effect of medication. According to research, drugs can have the following effects on a senior’s weight, diet, and appetite:
- A patient’s sense of taste or smell can be affected by medication.
- These medications may cause patients to develop dry mouth.
- Medication side effects can cause a patient to become anorexic.
- Some medications might make patients nauseous and sick.
- Swallowing can be uncomfortable, challenging, or even impossible due to dysphagia.
Mental Health Concerns
As was previously noted, illnesses like Alzheimer’s, Arthritis and Injury care, and other types of dementia that affect cognition can cause unintentional weight loss. The varied symptoms of the disease can cause eating habits in Alzheimer’s patients to shift considerably.
Depression in older persons might cause accidental weight loss. People with depression may feel worn out and unable to properly take care of themselves. It’s critical to keep an eye out for depression-related symptoms and dealing with chronic discomfort.
Rapid weight loss and worsening conditions could be caused by an underlying disease such as a mood disorder.
The detection of social difficulties can be more difficult than the other three problems mentioned above. Due in part to their nuanced nature and the possibility that close friends and family members may not recognize the problems for what they are, social disorders can be difficult to diagnose. Social isolation is a significant contributor to weight loss since it causes people to lose track of their healthy routines owing to depression and a lack of social contacts with whom to share life experiences.
An important point of contact for prevention is a caregiver. But if they are not professionals, the caregiver must be qualified and have the time to support the patient.
Financial limitations. Can they afford the food, order it, and make wholesome meals? The person who shops? Who prepares the meals?
Any discomfort or pain. When attempting to swallow or chew, is there any discomfort? Vomiting, feeling sick, or quickly becoming full? Does stomach ache? Is it diarrhea or indigestion?
How is unexplained weight loss treated?
The first step in addressing unexplained weight loss is determining its underlying cause. To arrange for a comprehensive physical examination, please call your doctor.
A specialist may be recommended to you by your physician or more diagnostic tests may be required. Body mass can recover if the underlying illness is treated and the reason for the weight loss is identified.
In addition to a particular diet, their provider might advise monitoring if there are no underlying issues. The provider can suggest that they consult a dietitian to learn how to eat more calories or suggest that they flavour their food to make it more palatable.
Ten Guidelines for Seniors to Keep a Healthy Weight
Even though older persons frequently experience unintended weight loss, there are methods that may be taken to stop weight loss and maintain a healthy weight as we age.
- Regular exercise
- Strength training should be utilized
- To consume breakfast
- Eat a lot of protein-rich foods.
- Consume foods high in fiber (i.e. whole grain bread, beans, vegetables, fruit)
- Keep sugars and other “empty calories” to a minimum.
- Keep hydrated.
- cultivate enduring bonds with family and friends
- Become a member of a gym.
- Put sleep first