5 Common Causes of Weight Loss in Seniors
- Loneliness and social isolation. Unexplained and unintentional weight loss in senior loved ones may indicate loneliness or isolation.
- Chronic physical illness.
- Mental illness.
- Decreased ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs)
What is the most common cause of weight loss in the elderly?
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.
When should you worry about weight loss?
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.
Is it normal to lose weight as you get older?
As you get older, you may start to lose weight, either through illness or loss of appetite. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important, and there are steps you can take to gain weight healthily. Even if there’s nothing wrong with your health it’s quite common for older people to lose their appetite.
How much weight loss is considered unexplained?
Weight loss of 10 pounds or more, or five percent of body weight, over a period of 6 to 12 months is considered “unexplained.” Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of a serious condition or illness.
What tests are done for unexplained weight loss?
Tests that are commonly done include:
- Complete blood count (CBC): A CBC can show evidence of infections, anemia (a lack of red blood cells that can be caused by many conditions), and more.
- Thyroid panel.
- Liver function tests.
- Kidney function tests.
- Blood sugar (glucose)
Is unintentional weight loss always serious?
Your body weight can regularly fluctuate, but the persistent, unintentional loss of more than 5% of your weight over 6 to 12 months is usually a cause for concern. Losing this much weight can be a sign of malnutrition, where a person’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients.
What illnesses can cause extreme weight loss?
However, unintentional weight loss may be a sign of one of these medical conditions.
- Muscle loss. Muscle loss, or muscle wasting, can lead to unexpected weight loss.
- Overactive thyroid.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
How much weight loss is concerning in a month?
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.
What qualifies as significant weight loss?
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].
What type of cancers cause weight loss?
According to the American Cancer Society, unexplained weight loss is often the first noticeable symptom of cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, and lung. Other cancers, such as ovarian cancer, are more likely to cause weight loss when a tumor grows large enough to press on the stomach.
Can dementia cause rapid weight loss?
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.
How can seniors gain weight?
Eat smaller meals more often.
- Choose high calorie and high protein foods at every meal and snack.
- Choose eggs, meat, poultry, fish and nut butters.
- Add healthy fats or oils to your usual foods such as drizzling olive oil on your steamed vegetables or adding non-hydrogenated margarine to your brown rice.
Can heart problems cause weight loss?
Cardiac cachexia is unintentional severe weight loss caused by heart disease. The weight loss might be life-threatening. It can happen to people who have severe heart failure. Even with a very good appetite and high calorie intake, some people lose muscle mass.
Does diabetes cause weightloss?
In people with diabetes, insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood into the body’s cells to use as energy. When this occurs, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight.
How much weight loss is too much in a week?
Summary: According to experts, losing 1–2 pounds (0.45–0.9 kg) per week is a healthy and safe rate, while losing more than this is considered too fast. However, you may lose more than that during your first week of an exercise or diet plan.