Loss of appetite: what causes, when to worry?

Loss of appetite: what causes, when to worry?

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A loss of appetite is the symptom of a pathological state, lasting or transient. If it only lasts a few days, there is no need to worry about it. If loss of appetite sets in, then it is important to consult your doctor.

What are the possible causes of a loss of appetite?

When it is transient, the loss of appetite is benign. Extreme heat, flu, rhinitis, painful menstrual cycle, stress, mood swings. The causes can be numerous and the temporary loss of appetite is not serious. Loss of appetite can set in over time and become permed when it is due to a psychiatric disorder, disease of the digestive system, heart disease, infection…

What are the signs of a loss of appetite?

The first obvious sign of loss of appetite is weightlossas well as a decrease in muscle mass“, explains Dr Faïza Bossy, general practitioner in Paris. “Quite quickly, a general fatigue due to nutrient and vitamin deficiencies“, she adds. Other signs include:

  • Stomach aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Finally, the lasting loss of appetite leads to a dysfunction of all the organs and a weakening of the immune system. The patient is then very fragile and will be more susceptible to infectious diseasessays the general practitioner.

What diseases can cause loss of appetite?

The loss of appetite that sets in is a symptom of an underlying cause:

  • The depression : “dislike of everything including food
  • The eating disorders : anorexia or bulimia
  • A inflammatory disease : “pain causes loss of appetite (migraine, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis…)”
  • The infections viral or bacterial
  • A digestive disease : Crohn’s disease, gastritis, pancreatic disease, irritable colons
  • The food intolerances
  • The cancer
  • The dementias
  • A heart failure
  • the diabetes
  • The addiction alcohol, hard drugs
  • The treatments such as chemo or radiation therapy
  • age : “as you age, it is common to no longer feel thirst or hunger.

When to worry about a loss of appetite?

The situation may last for a while before the patient becomes concerned, or becomes aware of the situation. “Often, I see these patients in my office because the family alerted them on their weight loss or they consult because they are extremely tired. They sleep well, the sleep is not compensatory, which is not normal“, explains Faïza Bossy. If it is a transient loss of appetite, there is nothing in particular to do except wait for it to pass.If the feeling of hunger disappears significantly and continuously, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as possible“, warns the specialist. “From the moment you have lost more than 5% of your body weight and muscle mass in less than six months or 10% in a year, without dieting, there is an underlying medical problem.“, she specifies. Faïza Bossy adds: “Furthermore, if we realize that there is a breaking with habits, I still advise you to consult.

“We are in danger from the moment we lose 5 to 10% of our weight”

What are the dangers of a loss of appetite?

“We are in danger from the moment we lose 5-10% of their weight. The deficiencies will then be too great and the immune system will be very weakened. The patient is very vulnerable both physically and intellectually, it is important that he is taken care of by a doctor“, notes the general practitioner.

What to do in case of loss of appetite?

Loss of appetite is a symptom. “In case of loss of appetite, you must first treat the cause. This can take time and require additional examinations to find it (biological assessment, ultrasounds, X-ray, MRI…) and sometimes psychological care. It must be understood that no miracle cure can restore your appetite.“, warns I think Faïza Bossy. food supplements can however be prescribed, very rich in terms of energy, they are particularly suitable for the elderly or patients undergoing chemo or radiotherapy.

Thanks to Dr. Faïza Bossy, general practitioner in Paris.

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