Some of the conditions commonly associated with sudden weight loss in the elderly include: Cancer, which can affect weight and appetite in many different ways. Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, which can change eating habits. Gastrointestinal issues, which may lead to malnutrition.
Unintentional weight loss in persons older than 65 years is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The most common etiologies are malignancy, nonmalignant gastrointestinal disease, and psychiatric conditions.
Unintentional weight loss is a common issue in older adults. While there can be medical factors involved, there’s often no explanation for the pounds that simply slip away. About 25% of patients who are older adults experience unexplained weight loss of some kind.
At times it can be related to mental states such as depression or stress, other unintentional weight loss could be due to physical factors like illness or nutrition. Here are some common causes of unintentional weight loss: Depression: Is there anything in your mom’s life that could be making her feel down?
The point at which unexplained weight loss becomes a medical concern is not exact. But many doctors agree that a medical evaluation is called for if you lose more than 5 percent of your weight in six months to a year, especially if you’re an older adult.
Tests that are commonly done include:
Studies have shown that once dementia reaches its final stages, one in every two or three affected people will experience severe weight loss. Weight loss may occur despite the person with advanced dementia being given all the food they want. Weight loss may be part of the process of dying from dementia.
Sudden, noticeable weight loss can happen after a stressful event, although it can also be a sign of a serious illness. It’s normal to lose a noticeable amount of weight after the stress of changing jobs, divorce, redundancy or bereavement.
The best food options to help seniors gain weight are your high-calorie foods such as healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils. Additionally, increasing calories by adding extra lean protein, additional portions of whole grains, or dairy products.
Extreme weight-loss is defined as a loss of more than 1kg a week for a sustained period. Under such circumstances, your body is unlikely to be able to keep up and noticeable symptoms are bound to appear. Some may seem harmless on the surface, like minor hair-loss or feeling cold more frequently.
Losing weight after turning 70 is a lot like losing weight after turning 30 or 40 or 50: It’s often way harder than you think it is going to be. But it is also very doable, and if your health depends on it, it’s very worth it.
Poverty, loneliness, and social isolation are the predominant social factors that contribute to decreased food intake in the elderly. Depression, often associated with loss or deterioration of social networks, is a common psychological problem in the elderly and a significant cause of loss of appetite.
However, unintentional weight loss may be a sign of one of these medical conditions.
Clinically important weight loss is generally defined as loss of more than 5 percent of usual body weight over 6 to 12 months [1,2].
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s 1 to 2 pounds per week. That means, on average, that aiming for 4 to 8 pounds of weight loss per month is a healthy goal.