A decreased appetite is when your desire to eat is reduced. The medical term for a loss of appetite is anorexia.
Loss of appetite; Decreased appetite; Anorexia
Any illness can reduce appetite. If the illness is treatable, it is only fair to expect the appetite to return when the condition is cured.
A prolonged loss of appetite can will ultimately cause weight loss.
A decreased appetite is almost always seen among elderly adults. Obviously no physical cause may be found. This is more physiological as there is decreased metabolism among the elderly and therefore a decreased need for energy and nutrient. But emotions such as sadness, depression, or grief can lead to a loss of appetite as well.
Cancer will definitely cause a prolonged and decreased appetite. You may lose weight without trying. Such patient usually looks rather cacahexia, a severe form of weight loss and muscle wasting. Cancers that may cause you to lose your appetite include:
Other causes of decreased appetite include:
Home Care for Patient With Decreased Appetite
People with cancer or a chronic illness need to increase their protein and calorie intake by eating high-calorie, nutritious snacks or several small meals during the day. Smaller portions are easier to digest. The lumen of the alimentary canal also gets smaller making food passage more difficult. Liquid protein drinks may be helpful.
Family members should try to supply favorite foods to help stimulate the person’s appetite.
Keep a record of what you eat and drink for 24 hours. This is called a diet history. Do it on a daily basis.
Seeking Help From a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you are losing a lot of weight without slimming program.
Seek medical help if decreased appetite occurs along with other signs of depression, drug or alcohol abuse, or an eating disorder.
For loss of appetite caused by taking medications, ask your health care provider about the possibility of changing the dosage or the type of drug. Do not stop taking medications without first talking to your health care provider.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The health care provider will take the history and perform a physical exam and will check your height and weight.
The health care provider will ask about diet and medical history. Questions may include the following:
Tests may be done to determine the cause of decreased appetite. These may include imaging tests, such as x-ray or ultrasound. Blood and urine tests may also be ordered.
In cases of severe malnutrition, nutrients are replaced and given through a vein (intravenously). This may require a hospital stay.