Some physical and cognitive illnesses can cause a reduced appetite, which may later result in weight loss and malnutrition.
If the illness causing the reduced appetite is treatable, appetite should return when the condition is cured. The most common conditions associated with this are cancer, chronic kidney disease, dementia, heart failure, hepatitis and hypothyroidism; however, emotions such as sadness, depression or grief can also cause a reduced appetite.
According to the webpage MedlinePlus, the recommendation is to encourage patients to eat their favorite foods. If the problem persists and is causing undesired weight loss, record the foods that the patient eats and drinks over a 24-hour period to provide the physician with a diet history.
Another suggestion is for the individual to ask themselves the following questions prior to seeing a specialist:
– Is the decreased appetite severe or mild?
– Have you lost any weight? How much?
– Is this decreased appetite a new symptom?
– If it is, did it start after an unsettling event such as the death of a family member or friend?
– What other symptoms are you experiencing?
If the patient experiences severe malnutrition, nutrients will be administered through an IV (intravenously). This procedure may require hospitalization.