J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  1998 Nov;2(2):147-159.

Anorexia in the Elderly

  • 1Department of Neuropsychaitry, College of Medicine, Seoul Paik Hospital, Inje University, Seoul, Korea.


Loss of appetite, regardless of cause, is a significant symptom that may cause extreme wieght loss in the olderly patients. Unrecognized anorexia can lead to debilitation, primarily from weight loss, which in turn can lead to muscle wasting, weakness, fatigue, impaired immunocompetence, depression, and an increase in complications from chronic disease. Undernourished elderly patients are also much less able to withstand physical stress, such as surgery. Anorexia gets a lot of media and medical attention when it occurs as an eating disorder in teenagers, but it is actually more likely to occur later in life. However, there has been a little attention on this problem in the elderly. In this review, the author concentrates on 1) the physiological and biochemical changes in the pathogenesis of appetite and food intake which are associted with the normal aging process;2) the primary and secondary causes of anorexia and weight loss in the elderly;and 3) the practical management strategies to help this population eat better.


Anorexia; The elderly
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