How Do I Know When Its Time To Act
So, weve gone through what can cause loss of appetite and weight loss and why there are some big problems that can arise when we have either of these issues.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
- When there are other concerning symptoms. Are you nauseous or vomiting? Do you have a fever, diarrhea, constipation, ongoing fatigue? These symptoms can lead to dehydration, malnutrition and other serious issues if not addressed promptly.
- When you cant identify a straightforward reason for loss of appetite or weight loss. Let your healthcare team work with you to figure out the cause. Getting to the root of the issue is critical.
- When you can identify a reason for loss of appetite or weight loss and its not going to go away. or go away anytime soon. Maybe you have figured out you have a sore in your mouth or abdominal cramping that keeps you from eating. Has it been around for more than a day or two? Time to seek some help to get the situation under control.
Please note: you may think you have figured out the reason behind your appetite or weight loss. You may even be right. EVEN SO, if you have been struggling with the loss of appetite or unplanned weight loss for a while now.. seek help anyways!
Not only will your healthcare team be able to properly test and diagnose things, but they will be able to work with you to effectively and safely address the problem.
Make Sleep A Priority
Getting enough sleep helps boost a persons energy levels throughout the day. Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but most adults need 79 hours per night. People may be able to improve the quality of their sleep by:
- sticking to a regular sleep schedule
- developing and maintaining a relaxing bedtime routine, which may involve reading or having a hot bath
- ensuring a relaxing sleep environment that is dark, quiet, and cool
- avoiding caffeine and other stimulants close to bedtime
Signs Of Poor Appetite
When does a poor appetite become a problem? We arent talking about just being not hungry for one meal or being disinterested in eating when you dont like what is being served.
Loss of appetite that should be addressed occurs over a longer period , involves a general disinterest in eating that you cant readily explain, and may even include nausea at the sight or smell of food.
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What Causes Loss Of Appetite
People with cancer might have many factors that affect their appetite, most commonly it’s the cancer itself and treatment for the cancer.
Cancer itself can cause a loss of appetite for the following reasons.
- If a tumor is in or around parts of the gastrointestinal tract, it might interfere with the intake of food , may cause trouble swallowing, or make a person feel full without even eating.
- Some tumors release certain types of hormones that affect how the body recognizes that it’s hungry.
- Things like pain, stress, depression,dehydration, and nausea that might be related to the cancer itself can reduce a person’s appetite.
Surgery and other cancer treatment-related side effects can cause loss of appetite. Some of the side effects that can affect appetite include:
- Changes in taste or smell
It’s important to remember that other non-cancer health problems and medications used to treat non-cancer problems can also cause loss of appetite.
Dry Mouth Fatigue Loss Of Appetite
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Consequences Of Weight Loss
Unintentional weight loss, as mentioned already, can lead to an increased risk of illness, disease and death . When our bodies are not well nourished, our immune systems are less equipped to fight off infections or to heal wounds.
Weight loss also usually includes loss of muscle, meaning that we are likely to become weaker. Doing daily tasks may become more difficult, we may have reduced stamina, and we are more likely to fall.
This ultimately means that our independence may be affected. Whether it be moving around, taking care of the household, or attending to our hygiene and care: when we lose weight, all of these day-to-day tasks become more challenging and we are at higher risk for injury.
You can learn more about unintended weight loss here.
How Can I Stimulate My Salivary Glands Naturally
Chewing and sucking help stimulate saliva flow. Try: Ice cubes or sugar-free ice pops. Sugar-free hard candy or sugarless gum that contains xylitol….These products may also help:
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Who Do I Go To For Help
If you are dealing with other urgent symptoms , it may be appropriate to visit an Emergency Department or Urgent Care facility for immediate assistance.
In the absence of urgent symptoms, your physician is your go-to for diagnostic testing to get to the bottom of the problem. You will also want to be referred to a dietitian. Depending on where you live, this may be through your doctor or you may be able to self-refer.
Your dietitian should be able to help pinpoint issues contributing to your loss of appetite or weight loss. And they are a key team member to develop strategies and plans to get your appetite and weight back on track!
Finally, if you are in contact with other health care professionals, dont hesitate to tell them about your weight and appetite concerns too. Health care professionals want to have a clear picture of your overall health, and they should direct you to the professional you need.
Changes In Bowel Habits
Changes in bowel habits that can indicate colon or rectal cancer include the following:
New-onset constipation or diarrhea
Changes in frequency or size and caliber of bowel movements
A bowel that doesnt seem to empty completely
Stool that is narrower than normal
Occasional bowel changes can be caused by a dietary change, disagreeable food or a viral/bacterial infection. However, if you are experiencing something new and unexplainedand it lasts more than a couple of dayssee your doctor.
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How To Naturally Stimulate Appetite In The Elderly
What is the best natural treatment for loss of appetite in seniors and older adults? If the loss of appetite is due to a serious medical condition, treating that condition is the best approach for stimulating the appetite. Overall, healthy eating habits must be encouraged with the elderly.
A holistic nutritionist or dietitian can recommend the best foods and approach for the root cause of appetite loss. Since loneliness and depression have an association with appetite loss, a counselor or psychotherapist and eating with others can also help encourage eating.
Lets take a look at some of the ways to stimulate appetite in seniors.
Abdominal Pain And Bloating
Stomach bloating, distention, cramps or pain in the abdominal or bowel region can be symptoms of colon or rectal cancer. These are common issues that can also be caused by a number of conditions, including diet-related gastrointestinal distress, Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis. See your doctor if you experience frequent abdominal pain and bloating that does not have an obvious cause.
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Other Tips For Treating Anorexia Or Appetite Loss
Contrary to conventional belief, loss of appetite is not an eating disorder and is usually a symptom of a greater health problem, especially among the elderly.
Other ways to stimulate appetite in the elderly and others with a particular disease include:
- Keeping busy on a regular basis, and participate in group activities like artwork or other hobbies. As a result, the person will experience reduced depression and desire food when it is time to eat.
- Try mind-body exercises, such as meditation, yoga, qigong, or tai chi. These will create inner peace and help stimulate the desire to nourish the body.
- Spend valuable time outdoors in nature, including walking, hiking, or gardening. Going barefoot is called earthing, and it can also help create a connection with nature. Doing this can increase self-worth and the desire to eat.
Vaccine Effectiveness & Omicron
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.
In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.
Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.
Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.
How Will Your Doctor Diagnose Fatigue And Loss Of Appetite
While there isnt a specific test for fatigue and loss of appetite, your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical exam, and ask about your other symptoms. This will help narrow down potential causes so that your doctor can order the right tests.
After asking questions about your health, they may order:
- blood tests to search for potential conditions, like hypothyroidism, celiac disease, or HIV
- a CT scan or ultrasound scan of the stomach
- an EKG or stress test for suspected cardiac involvement
- gastric emptying test, which can diagnose delayed gastric emptying
Reasons For Weight Loss
Because prolonged loss of appetite leads to unintentional weight loss, many of the reasons for weight loss are the same as those weve already discussed for loss of appetite. Re-visit the list above, but I also want to pull out a few not-yet-mentioned or that are worth highlighting:
- Intentionally reducing your food intake or increasing your exercise: I suppose it goes without saying, but if you are trying to lose weight by eating less or exercising more, there is a good chance you may see lower numbers on the scale!
- Disease: Cancer, dementia, undiagnosed diabetes, digestive diseases like Crohns, colitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome . These and many more may lead to unplanned weight loss.
- Difficulties with eating/chewing/swallowing: If eating is painful or frightening , it stands to reason that we may eat less. Not because we arent hungry, but simply out of fear that we might cough or choke.
- Struggles with drug or alcohol use: For a whole host of reasons, addictions and drug/alcohol use may lead us to lose weight without meaning to.
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The Four Most Common Symptoms Of The Omicron Variant Are Cough Fatigue Congestion And Runny Nose According To A Cdc Analysis Of The First 43 Cases Investigated In The Us In Some Cases Vomiting Has Also Been Reported As A Symptom Among Those With The Variant The Report Said
While the Omicron variant is considered to be “mild”, the new symptoms include nausea and loss of appetite, according to a Zoe Covid app study. According to the UK’s NHS, the symptoms of coronavirus generally include “a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste”, the Daily Express reported. However, some people have had nausea and a loss of appetite – symptoms that are not usually associated with Covid.
According to Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, these are common symptoms in those who tend to be double-jabbed or even boosted.
“Quite a few of them had nausea, slight temperature, sore throats and headaches,” he was quoted as saying.
The four most common symptoms of the omicron variant are cough, fatigue, congestion and runny nose, according to a CDC analysis of the first 43 cases investigated in the US. In some cases, vomiting has also been reported as a symptom among those with the variant, the report said.
Recent preliminary studies have stated that Omicron appears to be “milder” than the Delta variant wave.
People infected are between 40 and 70 per cent less likely to be admitted to hospitals.
Research from an Imperial College London study and Scottish paper Early Pandemic Evaluation and Enhanced Surveillance of Covid-19, states that people with Omicron are 15 to 20 per cent less likely to need hospital treatment.
Focus On Stress Management
Stress can lead to digestive issues, sleeping difficulties, and fatigue. Stress may also exacerbate underlying health conditions, such as depression, fibromyalgia, and Crohns disease. The following activities may help a person manage their stress levels:
- regular exercise
Short term appetite changes and tiredness are not usually a cause for concern. These symptoms may occur as a result of a minor illness or be due to a change in the diet or sleep habits.
However, a person should see a doctor if they:
- experience persistent appetite loss or tiredness that does not improve in response to altering the diet or getting better quality sleep
- experience appetite loss or tiredness after starting a new medication
- have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer
Children and infants who experience tiredness and appetite loss may have difficulty communicating how they feel. If a child seems weak and overly tired or refuses to eat, a parent or caregiver should take them to see a pediatrician.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Anorexia
What are the signs and symptoms of anorexia? The main symptoms of anorexia include not wanting to eat, not feeling hungry, and unintentional weight loss. At the same time, even the idea of eating makes you feel nauseous, where you may vomit if you do eat.
When fatigue and loss of appetite are experienced together, it is a good idea to seek medical attention immediately. As a result, other symptoms may include fainting, chest pain, an irregular or racing heartbeat, blurry vision, dizziness, confusion, difficulty tolerating cold temperatures, and sudden weight loss.
Loss Of Appetite In Elderly: Symptoms Causes And Natural Treatment
Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.
Some believe that loss of appetite in the elderly is a normal part of aging. In part, this is due to a decrease in physical activity and resting metabolic rate associated with getting older. However, loss of appetite can also be an early warning sign of a greater health problem, while also increasing the chance of death.
The medical term for appetite loss is called anorexia, and it simply implies that a person has no desire to eat. Although it is has a similar name, this should not be confused with the eating disorder common with teen girls and young women, anorexia nervosa. With this disorder, the person is hungry, and yet, they deliberately restrict food consumption because of concerns about weight gain.
It is crucial to understand that weight loss is not a normal part of aging, but it is a common symptom with the loss of appetite in the elderly population. There comes a point where the weight loss is life-threatening. In fact, nursing home patients that lost 10% of their body weight had a significantly higher death rate in six months after their weight loss, according to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
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How Do You Treat Fatigue And Loss Of Appetite
Your doctor will prescribe treatments and therapies depending on your underlying condition. Pain relief may help ease the symptoms. If medication is the cause of your fatigue and loss of appetite, your doctor may adjust your dosage or swap the medication.
Treating fatigue may include learning how to increase energy in your daily life. This can mean:
- getting more exercise
- creating a schedule for activity and rest
- talk therapy
- learning about self-care
Treating loss of appetite may include formulating a flexible meal schedule and incorporating favorite foods into meals. Studies also show that enhancing the taste and smell of foods can increase appetite in older adults. They found that adding sauces and seasonings resulted in a 10 percent increase in calorie consumption.
Other methods used to treat fatigue or loss of appetite include:
- appetite stimulants like Marinol
- low-dose corticosteroids to increase appetite
- sleeping pills to help you sleep better at night
- physical therapy to slowly increase exercise
- antidepressants or antianxiety medications, for depression or anxiety
- anti-nausea medications like Zofran for nausea caused by medical treatments
Counseling or participating in a support group may also help reduce depression and anxiety-related causes of fatigue and loss of appetite.
Signs Of Unintended Weight Loss
There are different measures that your dietitian or doctor might use to measure weight loss: 5% of your total body weight being lost over a 6-12 month period is a place your healthcare team might start as far as significant weight loss .
However, you or your loved ones likely have less clinical ways to know as well. If you weigh yourself, is your weight going down a bit each week/month even if you dont feel you are doing anything differently with your diet or exercise?
How about your clothing? Does it feel baggier or have you had to buy smaller clothing sizes? Have family members expressed concern about your weight going down? Does your face seem thinner or are your collar bones more pronounced than they used to be?
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