Cant Catch Your Breath
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a chronic inflammatory lung disease often caused by smoking. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
As the disease advances, patients become more undernourished and need a high calorie diet. COPD is treated with medication, respiratory rehabilitation, and nutrition counseling.
What Is Sudden Weight Loss For Seniors
Sudden senior weight loss is quick, unintentional, and unexplained weight loss in older adults. About 15% to 20% of seniors experience sudden weight loss, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Though some weight loss can be a normal part of aging, losing a substantial amount of weight over a short period of time can be a sign of an underlying condition. Weight loss in older adults is considered a problem when theres a loss of 5% body weight in one month or 10% over a six-month period.
Some of the health consequences of sudden senior weight loss can be serious:
- Loss of ability to perform activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Greater risk of falls and injuries
- Worsening of cognitive and mood disorders
- Increased need for long-term care like assisted living facilities or nursing homes
Fatigue Muscle Weakness And Weight Loss
- Medical Author: Dan Brennan, MD
Reviewed on 6/15/2020
These symptoms are present in a wide variety of medical processes, including low calcium levels, exercise-related and other medical conditions. Rapid onset of these symptoms may require urgent or emergency care. If you find that your symptoms are persisting, then you should reach out to your doctor.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
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Its important to see, in that history taking, how many calories theyre actually burning, advises Dr. Fabius. If a patient is meeting or exceeding their caloric needs, thats going to make me suspect hyperthyroidism or a malabsorption syndrome.
Here are some critical questions doctors may ask:
- Is the person taking in enough calories?
- If so, are they still losing weight?
- Do they have an appetite?
Its helpful for doctors to understand psychological and social factors in the patients life, such as dementia, depression, social isolation, and income status. Keeping a detailed record of all prescription and over-the-counter medications could also be useful to doctors and is a safe practice in general.
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Vitamin And Mineral Insufficiency
Excesive people may resort to alcohol to combat anxiety and this may also be associated with weight loss see below. Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph. According to the American College of Gastroenterologyceliac disease symptoms include weight loss, diarrhea, bloatinggas, and abdominal pain. Low levels of cortisol may lead to poor appetite and weight loss. Common causes of unintentional weight loss are listed below.
Early symptoms of cancer also include:. Emphysema slowly damages the air sacs in your lungs, making it hard to breathe. Sort of. In some cases, surgery might be necessary. United States. Exercise should be prescribed and closely monitored by your doctor.
This is creepy, fatjgue it happens. Colon cancer screening Congenital adrenal hyperplasia Coronary artery spasm: Cause for concern? Learn how toâ¦. Oatmeal is an incredibly popular breakfast. These symptoms may include but are not limited to: Dizziness when standing Nausea and vomiting Lightheadedness and fainting Brain fog Muscle pain and cramps Headaches Excessive sweating Shakiness Some people feel as though their heart is beating really fast or skipping a beat. MAOIs and diet: Is it necessary to restrict tyramine? If that sounds familiar, there could be more going on than daily stress.
How Senior Living Communities Help Manage Unintentional Weight Loss In Elderly
Senior care facilities often keep track of factors contributing to your loved ones sudden weight loss as part of their regular services. Most communities, especially nursing homes, measure weight and vitals regularly. Many communities will also work with residents and their families to develop special diet plans to help the seniors manage their weight and improve their overall well-being.
Assisted living communities offer different services depending on each residents needs. Most assisted living communities offer meal plans and special dining options, medication management, health monitoring, and social opportunities to help keep senior residents active and safe.
Its common for senior residents in assisted living to have their weight and vitals checked monthly. If weight loss is a concern when the resident moves in, staff will likely check their weight weekly or more. Staff at assisted living communities tend to develop close relationships with residents, so it is unlikely for drastic changes in weight or eating habits to go unnoticed.
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Heart Palpitations After Weight Loss
Several conditions and events can trigger heart palpitations. Heart palpitations include the heart beating too fast, too hard, skipping beats, or a feeling of fluttering in the chest.
Though weight loss itself may not cause heart palpitations, some things that accompany it may. For example, diet pills, exercise, caffeine intake, nutritional disturbances, or electrolyte abnormalities can trigger heart palpitations.
In addition, research has shown that low carb diets may significantly increase a personâs risk factor for atrial fibrillation . A-fib can cause symptoms such as heart palpitations and can increase the risk of stroke.
, researchers noted increased cases of premature death, including from heart disease, in people who had lost weight after experiencing obesity after the age of 47.
The study authors recommend that younger individuals take steps to prevent weight gain throughout their life.
In another study , researchers noted an increased mortality rate in people living with congestive heart failure who experienced weight loss compared with those who did not lose weight. They noted that the risk was highest in people with obesity.
However, it is important to remember that weight loss can be unintentional. For example, people with cancer may experience weight loss and mortality due to the condition.
Tuberculosis: Its Not Just In History Books
Tuberculosis, a bacterial infection of the lungs, is associated with loss of appetite and unintended weight loss.
Other symptoms include a cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, coughing up blood, chest pain, fatigue, fever, night sweats, and chills. The infection can be treated with medication or prevented with vaccines.
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Side Effects Of Rapid Weight Loss
The common side effects of rapid weight loss includes fatigue, headaches, nausea, irritability, difficulty concentrating, weakness and dizziness. These side effects arises within days. Constipation, menstrual disturbances hair loss and loss of muscle mass arise within weeks.
There is an increased risk of the following:
- Nutritional deficiencies and its complications.
How To Help Doctors Monitor Weight Loss And Malnutrition
In addition to performing a physical examination of the patient, doctors may ask the caregiver for a detailed history of the patients eating habits and weight.
Dr. Fabius recommends his patients weigh themselves twice weekly, with assistance from caregivers or family members if necessary. He also suggests keeping a food diary, which will help paint an accurate picture of a persons caloric intake and the timing of the weight loss.
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You Are Constantly Thirsty Tired And Using The Bathroom More Than Usual
Diana Gariglio-Clelland, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Balance ONE, says that one of the primary potential causes of unexpected weight loss is diabetes.
“When someone develops diabetes, their body isn’t able to take up adequate amounts of sugar for energy due to lack of insulin,” she says. “When the cells aren’t able to take up this sugar, they starve, which can result in weight loss.”
Gariglio-Clelland advises people to get in to see their healthcare provider for some diagnostic blood testssuch as a blood glucose testif they experience unintended weight loss, just to be on the safer side of things.
When Is Fatigue Considered Extreme
People can help their doctor identify the exact cause by recording any additional symptoms that they are having. The yield of endoscopic investigation for unintentional weight loss. Ferri FF.
Sudden or steady gain in daily weight ecxessive as 2 to 3 loss in 24 hours or 5 pounds over a couple of weeks shows that the body is retaining fluid and may be a sign of congestive heart failure. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Cleveland Clinic. Changes and symptoms of menopause can start several years earlier, including:. Fecal transplant treatment of C.
Overactive thyroid. In some people, depression may increase appetite. People with depression often struggle with chronic fatigue. This content does not have an Arabic version.
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Putting It All Together
Check out the 5 reasons you cant lose weight outlined here. As, you read through them it will become apparent that they are interconnected. Our body systems influence each other. When one system gets out of sync it affects the others.
Carry out appropriate testing for adrenal, thyroid, food sensitivities and gut problems if you think these could be issues for you.
Review your eating and make sure you follow a healthy diet free from sugar and junk foods while taking some gentle exercise depending on your current fatigue level.
Please feel free to leave a comment or ask me any questions.
You Have A Gut Disease
Diseases of the bowel will generally include some sort of additional symptoms, like decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting, abdominal bloating/pain or change in bowel habit, says Cory Fisher, DO, family medicine physician at the Cleveland Clinic.
Some examples include inflammatory bowel disease , celiac disease, and chronic liver disease. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist for diagnosis, which usually requires imaging studies or endoscopy.
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Warning Signs Of Failing Senior Health
When it comes to weight loss in the elderly, watch for a few key warning signs:
- Depression. Sudden weight loss can be associated with depression, social withdrawal, or loss of a will to live.
- Loss of smell and taste. Though a normal part of the aging process, loss of these senses can be worsened by medication or disease, which can result in anorexia.
- Constipation. A common complaint, constipation can be a result of a diet that is lacking adequate nutrients and fluids. Though there are several over-the-counter remedies for constipation, Dr. Fabius also recommends combating poor nutrition with a daily multivitamin and possibly a dietary beverage supplement.
- Loss of appetite. Whether a result of chewing problems or disease, a sudden lack of interest in food is a cause for concern.
Some Causes Of Weight Loss
Article Sources. Antidepressants and weight gain: What causes it? When to see a doctor. How to cope with a depressive episode.
Medically reviewed by Gerhard Whitworth, R. Diabetes and liver Diabetes insipidus Diabetes management: Does aspirin therapy prevent heart qeight This site complies with the Excessive weight loss and fatigue standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. If you have celiac disease, your body has an immune reaction to gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Depression has a number of symptoms. Antiretroviral therapy is used to treat HIV and stop the spread of the virus and may improve weight loss.
See individual leaflets on the various diseases that can cause weight loss. Palindromic rheumatism: Precursor to rheumatoid arthritis?
It may affect one or both sides of the heart. Since the heart isn’t pumping blood effectively throughout the body, not as much oxygen and blood are going to the brain and muscle, which causes fatigue.
Burning more energy and calories can lead to unintentional or unexplained weight loss. Alex Folkl has been writing for more than eight years and has had work appear in several peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed scientific publications.
IBD also disrupts ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and leptin, the satiety hormone.
Vitamin overdoses also will lead to fatigue. Treatment depends on the type of cancer.
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Sudden Weight Loss In The Elderly: Warning Signs You Shouldnt Ignore
We all want to stay healthy and fit as we age, but when does losing weight become worrisome for older adults? Rapid, unintended weight loss in an elderly loved one could be a sign of a serious health problem. Learn more about the causes of sudden weight loss in seniors and the steps you can take to keep your family member healthy.
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How Do I Care For Abdominal Pain And Unintentional Weight Loss At Home
Abdominal pain can cause you to not feel like eating or drinking. Drink small sips of water or a beverage that contains electrolytes, such as Pedialyte, to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Eating several small meals instead of fewer larger ones can help. Avoid high-fat, greasy foods, such as pizza or french fries. They can make your symptoms worse. Instead, try eating:
- broth-based soups
Organ Strain And Failure
One of the main dangers of rapid weight loss is the strain on the heart. This may occur for a number of reasons. It can lead to heart attacks , irregular heartbeat and may also contribute to heart failure. Rapid weight loss may affect any organ apart from the heart. When dehydration is severe it can also affect the kidneys, brain and nerves.
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Common Causes Of Unintentional Weight Loss In Seniors
Although sometimes the cause of weight loss in elderly adults goes undiscovered, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If your family member is experiencing rapid weight loss, dont ignore it.
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
- Gastrointestinal issues, which may lead to malnutrition
- Hyperthyroidism, which accelerates the bodys metabolism
- Depression, which can lead to a loss of appetite
Many behavioral and social factors may also affect an older persons eating habits and nutrition level:
- Adverse effects of taking multiple medications
- Limited mobility
You Have A Burning Feeling In Your Stomach
If your weight loss is the result of not eating very much because you feel like your stomach is burning, that’s definitely a sign that something is not right.
A burning feeling in your stomach, bloating, heartburn, and nausea are all signs of ulcers, a condition where painful sores cover the inner lining of the stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Luckily, in some cases, lifestyle changes can be enough to ease the symptoms.
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When To Seek Medical Help
Seek immediate medical attention if youre vomiting blood or observe blood in your stool. Also, old blood in the vomitus can resemble coffee grounds. And sometimes stool may not contain red blood but may be maroon or black and tarlike.
Seek immediate medical attention if your pain suddenly worsens. And make an appointment to see your doctor if:
- you have a fever greater than 100°F
- your appetite doesnt return in three to five days
- your stomach pain lasts longer than a week
- your stomach pain gets worse
This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if youre concerned that you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
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