Decreased Appetite

Loss of Appetite


A decreased appetite is when your desire to eat is reduced. The medical term for a loss of appetite is anorexia.

Alternative Names

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.


Decreased Appetite: is common among various diseases. It is normal in the aging due to decreased metabolism and physical activity.





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:

  • Colon cancer, that block the food waste excretion
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Stomach cancer, as it block the lumen and interfere with proper food digestion and intake
  • Pancreatic cancer, interfere with enzyme release and digestion
  • For that matter all cancer during advanced stage


Decreased Appetite: is common among various diseases. It is normal in the aging due to decreased metabolism and physical activity.

Decreased Appetite: is common among various diseases. It is normal in the aging due to decreased metabolism and physical activity.



Other causes of decreased appetite include:

  • Chronic liver disease, interfere with nutrient storage and metabolism
  • Chronic kidney failure, interfere with red blood cell formation and oxygen carrying capacity
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), decreasing oxygen carried
  • Dementia
  • Heart failure, with decreased cardiac output
  • Hepatitis, interfere with liver metabolism
  • HIV, cause a general malaise
  • Hypothyroidism, cause generalised decrease of metabolism
  • Pregnancy (first trimester), morning sickness decrease appetite
  • Use of certain medications, including antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, codeine, and morphine
  • Use of street drugs, including amphetamines (speed), cocaine, and heroin

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:

  • How severe is the problem? Is the decreased appetite severe or mild?
  • Have you really lost any weight? And how much?
  • Is there any other accompanying complaint? What other symptoms are present?
  • Is there a preexisting symptom? Is the decreased appetite a new symptom?
  • If so, did it start after an upsetting event, such as the death of a family member or friend?

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.




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