What Is Normal for Elderly Weight Loss?

Being overweight can cause a myriad of health problems ranging from diabetes to heart disease.

However, elderly weight loss isn’t always a good thing and it may be an indication of a serious health problem.

If you’re concerned about the unintentional weight loss of an elderly person in your life, read on to learn what’s normal and what isn’t so you know what to look for.

Rapid Elderly Weight Loss

If it appears that an elderly person is losing weight rapidly and suddenly, this is a serious red flag that should be looked into by a healthcare professional. Quick, unintentional weight loss may be a result of inadequate nutrition or even the beginning stages of dementia.

When an elderly person loses weight too quickly, it can potentially indicate a variety of issues including chronic conditions like diabetes. Pay attention to how much weight the person is losing, and how fast it’s happening. If you’re ever in doubt that the weight loss is happening at a normal pace, it’s time for them to see a doctor.

Normal Weight Loss

It’s perfectly normal to start losing weight as you age. In fact, many adults older than the age of 65 will begin to lose approximately 0.2 to 0.4 pounds of body weight each year. If a person loses more than five percent of their body mass within six months to a year, it’s time to be concerned. 

Elderly weight loss becomes a problem with other things being affected, such as bone density and lean body mass. The key is to make sure that the person is losing weight as a result of aging and not because of an underlying disease. Make sure the person is eating healthy foods and getting the level of nutrition they need to ensure that it’s simply normal weight loss and not something more serious.

What Can Cause Unintentional Weight Loss?

There are several medical factors that may play a role in unintentional elderly weight loss. Some examples include depression, stomach disease, or something extremely serious like cancer. Other common causes include kidney disease, dental issues, or simple undernutrition or malnutrition. 

If your loved one is living at a senior care facility, make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need. Inform the staff if you’re concerned about their weight loss so they can make recommendations to take a closer look. In many cases, rapid or unexpected weight loss goes undiagnosed, so it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you’re concerned. 

Monitor Weight Loss to Stay Healthy

While some elderly weight loss is perfectly normal, rapid weight loss may indicate a serious medical condition. Make sure you or a loved one is getting checked out to ensure that the weight loss isn’t something to worry about.

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