Unintentional Weight Loss in Seniors

Friday, June 27, 2014

Unintentional weight loss is common among older adults and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the problem and what can be done about it in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Elderly people with unintentional weight loss are at higher risk for infection, depression and death.

A variety of physical, psychological and social conditions can lead to weight loss, but there may be no identifiable cause in up to one-quarter of patients.

The leading causes are depression, cancer, cardiac disorders and benign gastrointestinal diseases. Medications that may cause nausea and vomiting, dysphagia, dysgeusia and anorexia may be other causes.

If you are older than 65 years, you should see your doctor if you lose 5 percent of your body weight over six to 12 months without trying.

Here are some steps you can take to try to gain weight:

Drink nutrition shakes 90 minutes before meals to help increase the amount of calories you are getting.

Flavor enhancers on your food, such as ham, natural bacon or roast beef flavor may help you to eat more, and

If the cost of or access to food is a problem, ask your doctor about resources that can help you.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.