Loss of appetite: Managing unwanted weight loss in the older patient

Karen Marie Chapman-Novakofski, R. A. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Loss of appetite, regardless of cause, is a significant symptom that may cause extreme weight loss in older patients. The consequences of anorexia include muscle wasting, weakness, depression, increased susceptibility to disease complications, and decreased immunocompetence. In the older population, the major causes of anorexia are pulmonary and cardiac diseases, cancer, dementia, alcoholism, depression, and medications. The diagnosis is based on the physical exam, a history of weight loss, and a review of dietary intake. Treatment strategies include managing GI disturbances, encouraging physical activity and socialization, reducing fatigue and food aversions, and adding high-calorie supplements to the diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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