Follow
Share

84 year old sister has lost 20lbs in 6 mos. No cognitive problems. Has had a complete physical, endoscopy, colonoscopy, mammogram/sonogram, chest C/T nothing explains the weight loss. She eats pretty well. Any ideas?

KathleenQ: Perhaps she needs to see a nutritionist.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Thanks everyone!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to KathleenQ
Report

Depression kills appetite
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to PennyBob
Report
lovelyliz Oct 21, 2022
yes depression
(0)
Report
Has her thyroid TSH been checked? (hyperthyroidism)
Does she have elevated calcium levels in her bloodwork? (Hyperparathyroidism)
Parkinson's Disease can also cause weight loss, even before diagnosis.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Sharovd
Report

Didn't see nutritionist on that list.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to ConnieCaretaker
Report

I’m not a doctor, but it sounds to me like she has deep depression. A psychological exam will show if she’s depressed.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Dupedwife
Report

I wish I had that problem! Is she too thin now? Has she lost any of her strength or ability to function? If she's healthy, strong and able to do everything she needs to do, I wouldn't worry about it, unless she continues to lose weight. Doctors are saying now that exercise is so good for people, physically and mentally. Does she get exercise? If she want to regain some of the weight, protein drinks, smoothies are high calorie and have nutrition.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to NancyIS
Report

sometimes uncontrolled blood sugar ie diabetes can cause this - im sure they did a complete blood workup which includes an A1C? Also, thyroid issues?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Mhillwt
Report

My mom with mild dementia had rather significant weight loss over the coarse of a year, I think she vainly like being slim.

She would like to eat, but wouldn’t finish much and we in the family just thought perhaps her appetite was decreasing or maybe she’d forget to eat occasionally.

Looking back, she would complain of constipation or general malaise in a joking way from time to time. She got regular check ups and colonoscopies over the years…

Turned out that she ended up in the ER with a twisted stomach that nearly killed her. Docs thought it was her heart till I mentioned she sometimes has constipation and nausea. They reluctantly ordered a scan and finally saw the issue.
Apparently, it’s a difficult to figure out diagnoses even for those without dementia.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Sunsetchaser
Report

Also some medications, like Digoxin and Diltiazem, have loss of appetite as a side effect. Just went through this with my 86 year old mom. Lost 20-30 pounds since May and recently hospitalized with Digoxin toxicity. Look into medication side effects.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to SacFol
Report

I was thinking of malabsorption, too, as Sohenc mentioned. Your sister may have food sensitivities and intolerances that even she does not know about. Some of the usual calorie supplements that involve dairy or soy or eggs or nuts may actually be counter-productive.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to RedVanAnnie
Report

JoAnn29 is right. And also Sohenc's answer is equally correct. If she has had bloodwork and the many tests you listed and nothing is found, then she may need to eat higher calorie foods. It's a fact that elderly people seem to eat less as they get up in years. My Mom and MIL definitely ate less as they got older. They just weren't as active or hungry. I, myself, at 63 find I'm not eating as much as I did when I was 40. I don't need the same amount of food to "feel full".

Sometimes people who carry extra weight, as they get older, they start losing weight because their not as active and their muscles are losing strength. Muscle mass gives you more weight. Hight protein shakes and more frequent meals may help. Is your Mom worried about it?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to help2day
Report

It can be dangerous for an elderly person to loose a lot of weight in a short period of time, even if they are overweight to begin with. As other's have noted, rapid weight loose may be muscle loss and that can be dangerous.

My mom lost a lot of weight in a short time about 2 years ago, after a 2 week hospital stay (after a bad fall and lung collaspe). She went to a rehab hospital after for 8 weeks (needed IV antibiotics for 2 different infections, one in the blood; and needed 4 LT of ox to start until the lung issue improved). She was permanently placed at the long term nursing home wing of that facility, where she remains (has dementia and a myriad of other conditions).

The dietician and geriatrician (an internal med MD) at the NH worked on a weight stabilization plan that worked and she gained a little bit back. One thing they explained, is sometimes there is a "malabsorption" issue with the elderly that is not necessarily something all of the tests your loved one (LO) had would pick up. Just like many things may decline (hearing, ability to walk/move, cognitive, overall strength with the elderly), the GI system may slow or decline in function too; including the ability to adequately absorb nutrients. My mom is almost 86.

So the geriatrician put her on a few "anemia Rx" meds, iron supplements, and an Rx form of high protein drink (not the type bought in the grocery store). And they allow her to pick anything she wants to eat. She gets a menu the week prior and picks out her meals for the week and they do NOT bother with redirection; so she'll eat most of what is provided. If she wants a hamberger for dinner every night, she can have it. They are not so worried -- at her age and condition -- about "balanced meals" but more about calories and protein.

Perhaps having you LO see a geriatrician (board certified) and a similarly trained (focused on the elderly) dietician would help?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Sohenc
Report

Unwelcome
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to KathleenQ
Report
againx100 Oct 14, 2022
Could use a calorie tracker app to see how many calories she is actually ingesting. This might uncover something. If she's at a deficit, she needs to add some higher calorie items to her daily routine. Nuts, nut butter, full fat yogurt, protein drinks, etc.
(0)
Report
I guess I wouldn't worry about it too much. She did a bunch of tests. Is she suffering with pain or weird symptoms? If not, maybe keep an eye on it but don't stress.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to againx100
Report

My Moms doctor chalked it up to muscle loss. Muscle is where the weight is. Are you with her 24/7? She maybe eating well but less than she used to. Thats not even a pound a week. Cutting back 500 cal a day is 3500 a week = lb.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Does she have a lot of extra weight TO lose? Or is this unwelcome?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter