Weight changes are often a side effect of an illness. Some illnesses, such as thyroid disorders, can cause the patient’s weight to increase, while other disorders may cause weight loss. Weight fluctuations can be frustrating. Patients with Parkinson’s disease, however, experience significant weight fluctuations that are more than simply frustrating. Parkinson’s patients can experience increases and decreases in weight of up to 25 pounds depending on what stage of the disease they are in, and many often wonder why this is happening and if they should worry.
New research says that these weight gains and losses for people with Parkinson’s disease are normal. Author of the study, Marilena Aiello, says that the “eating habits of Parkinson’s patients change as the disease progresses.” They found a few factors that might contribute to these changes in dietary habits, including depression, cognitive impairment, and sensory disturbances that alter smell and taste. These factors can all contribute to loss of appetite and thus weight loss. The study also showed that, after deep brain stimulation therapy, patients may experience an increase in pleasure and motivation associated with food, resulting in an increase in appetite and subsequent weight gain.
Maintaining a healthy diet and alleviating depression can help Parkinson’s patients stabilize their weight changes. At Heaven at Home, we can work with clients’ physicians to develop healthy meal plans and exercise routines to help clients stay fit and active. Our home care and companion care services can also help relieve feelings of depression and anxiety that can lead to loss of appetite. Contact our Denton home care team to learn more about our services and how we can help your loved one!