What is Anorexia? Anorexia is the unusual anorexia nervosa for food. It can be a symptom of diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and some neurological conditions. Without treatment, anorexia and malnutrition can prevent the treatment of hidden conditions and result in serious complications.
Extreme weight loss caused by compulsive worry about body weight is called anorexia nervosa.
Types of Anorexia
Anorexia and Cancer
Anorexia impacts 15 to 25 percent of cancer patients (National Cancer Institute, 2011). Anorexia is specifically common in the sophisticated stages of metastatic cancer. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other medications typically worsen anorexia. These therapies can cause queasiness, vomiting, dry mouth, and mouth sores, which may reduce a patient’s desire to eat.
Cancer surgical treatments can also cause anorexia. In cases where the cancer is impacting internal organs, cosmetic surgeons might need to operate on areas of the digestive system. Patients might establish anorexia if there is substantial damage to digestive organs during surgery.
Cancer patients typically deal with pain and depression. These are also causes of anorexia (Florida Cancer Specialists).
Anorexia and Alzheimer’s Disease
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, an anorexia nervosa frequently becomes apparent. The primary caretaker might notice that the patient does not eat as much or chooses not to eat at all. Possible causes of a poor cravings include:
- failure to recognize food
- poorly fitting dentures
- specific medications
- lack of exercise
- decreased sense of smell and taste (Alzheimer’s Association).
Anorexia and Parkinson’s Disease
Patients experiencing Parkinson’s disease might develop anorexia. Some patients experience severe depression, which often disrupts the upkeep of a healthy hunger.
Anorexia is also a side effect of some traditional medications used to treat Parkinson’s (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 2007). Levodopa, dopamine, and other medications may also cause queasiness, which can even more restrict the desire to eat.
See also: Why is Anorexia So Hard to Treat?
Anorexia is linked to the development a progressive wasting syndrome called cachexia. Cachexia causes weakness and an extreme loss of body mass, fat, and muscle tissue. Twenty to 40 percent of cancer patients pass away from cachexia (National Cancer Institute, 2011).
Cancer patients experiencing anorexia, weakness, and a considerable decline in body weight ought to seek advice from a physician right away.
Protein-Calorie Malnutrition (PCM)
Protein supplies the foundation for muscle and numerous other tissues, while calories offer energy. Patients who suffer from anorexia are not able to consume adequate protein and calories to fulfill their bodies’ requirements. These patients will establish a specific type of malnutrition called protein-calorie malnutrition, or PCM.
Untreated PCM can be fatal. Alert a physician if you believe that you or a liked one is experiencing PCM.
How Is Anorexia Treated?
A doctor will typically attempt to treat the condition that is causing the anorexia. She or he will concentrate on healing mouth sores or relieving pain, for example. Alleviating depression can likewise help enhance cravings.
A doctor might also reduce or adjust medications that may interfere with a patient’s cravings. And medications that either promote appetite or help food relocation through the intestines may also be prescribed.
In severe cases, a nasogastric tube might be needed. This tube travels through the nose and into the stomach. The tube allows medical staff to provide food straight to the patient’s digestive tract.
A doctor may likewise refer a patient to a registered diet professional, who will offer guidance on meal preparation and scheduling. A diet professional can make sure the patient is getting the needed nutrients.
Most home care alternatives for the treatment of anorexia revolve around setting a rigorous eating schedule (Florida Cancer Specialists, 2013). Advised tactics include:
- Eat more often. Schedule 5 or 6 small meals a day.
- Set times of the day when you are typically starving. Eat at those times even if you do not feel particularly starving.
- Eat healthy high-calorie foods.
- Eat protein-rich foods.
- Drink nutritious fluids (such as milk or juice) between meals instead of during meals. Consuming excessive during a meal can make you feel complete too rapidly.
- Ask a member of the family or caregiver to cook for you and help you with grocery shopping.
- Take a 15- or 20-minute walk about an hour before eating. Light exercise helps stimulate cravings. (Always consult your doctor prior to beginning any workout program.)
For caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, advised strategies include (Alzheimer’s Association):
- Avoid distractions, such as the television, while serving meals.
- Keep the table simple. Place just the food and utensils on the table.
- Make sure the food is at the right temperature level.
- Serve just one or more meals at a time.
- Allow the patient sufficient time to eat.
- Member of the family or caretakers ought to eat at the same time as the patient.