Weight loss and low body weight
Excessive weight worry can cause or contribute to unhealthy behaviors such as excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, and the overuse of laxatives or other drugs. These practices may exacerbate weight-related anxiety. Excessive activity may also have an impact on hormone production, increase calcium loss from the bones, and raise the risk of fractures.
Low body weight and fast unintended weight loss are significantly predictive of death, particularly in the elderly. Weight loss is a common complaint among elderly individuals.
The major causes of involuntary weight loss include acute and chronic illnesses. While physical sickness is most likely the cause of involuntary weight loss, psychological conditions such as dementia and depression can also cause significant nutritional shortages.
Because of the lower basal metabolic rate and decreased physical activity, energy requirements drop. Because of their reduced energy requirements, the elderly have a more difficult time obtaining enough levels of necessary nutrients. To prevent future deterioration of health condition, health care practitioners must monitor body weight in elderly people and carefully investigate any cases of sudden, unintended weight loss.
Weight reduction typically includes both lean body mass and body fat. Body fat content influences the contributions of lean body mass and fat to total weight reduction. Excessive lean body mass loss leads to skeletal and cardiac muscle wasting, as well as visceral protein loss. Because lean body mass reduces with age, older people who are at or slightly above average weight may be able to endure weight loss caused by aging or disease better than underweight people.
Physical disease has been extensively proven to cause weight loss. Disease can restrict dietary intake or affect physiological processes, resulting in reduced nutritional digestion or absorption, increased nutrient excretion, or increased nutrient requirements.
Cancer is the most common cause of involuntary weight loss, and weight loss can occur during the early stages of tumor growth before other symptoms appear.
- Taste changes have been linked to malignant anorexia;
- Alterations in the contraction and secretion of the gastrointestinal tract;
- Metabolic abnormalities that result in variations in the amounts of circulating glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, or lactic acid;
- Alterations in hypothalamic function;
- Motor activity is reduced due to weakness;
In addition to cancer, other main reasons of involuntary weight loss include gastrointestinal disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and cardiovascular problems such as congestive heart failure, as well as alcoholism, lung disease, and infection. Hyperthyroidism is a less common but still significant cause of weight loss.
Specific dietary deficits and poor nutrient intakes have been identified in dementia patients, which may contribute to weight loss. Folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin BI2 deficiencies, as well as electrolyte imbalance, can impair cognitive function and mimic dementia.
Some nutrient deficits that affect mental state may exist in the elderly. Mental changes caused by dietary deficits and weight loss can be rectified. Several studies have demonstrated that a lack of folate causes confusion and indications of dementia in the elderly, but that this can be reversed with proper supplementation. If vitamin shortages do not produce disorientation and dementia, they may lead to increasingly lower nutrient intakes and more severe mental state changes.