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Loss of Appetite : Definition, Causes, Complication and Treatment

Friday, September 28th 2012. | General

Loss of Appetite Definition

Loss of appetite is a loss of desire to eat. Loss of appetite to a greater degree, anorexia is loss of desire to eat, and more precisely the loss of hunger and / or persistence of satiety (lack of desire to eat ) from a distance of a meal. 

Loss of appetite is a symptom found in many diseases. It can be the alarm of many diseases, both physical and psychological. Satiety is the element, also subjective, motivation to stop food intake.

Hunger and satiety involve sensations from the mouth, digestive tract and brain. Information on the state of the body (carried by internal secretions of various organs), the information recorded by the brain at different levels taking into account the previous experience of the organization (rhythm meals, food preferences, values symbolic foods …) modulate feelings of hunger and satiety.

Anorexia may be the result of one or more perturbations at different levels of the complex regulation of hunger and satiety.

Loss of appetite _ children

Mechanisms stimulating hunger?

Feelings of hunger and satiety are regulated by complex mechanisms.

Hunger is a signal indicating a need of the body, causing the individual to feed. Feeding behavior meets two requirements: the contribution of energetic materials and the management of their reserves in the body.

There are excitatory stimulation of hunger, which are:

  • A decrease of glucose (sugar) available to the cell, which is recorded by receptors in the liver, stomach, intestine and brain (hypothalamus);
  • A decrease in heat production which is sensed by thermoreceptors internal controls energy balance, among others located in the hypothalamus;
  • A change in the metabolism of fats (for melting fat or fatty deposits) which is sensed by receptors fats interpret as signs of hunger or satiety;
  • The sight or smell and even the imagination of a dish appetizing .

Cause these receptors stimulated the production of chemical messengers (dopamine, norepinephrine, GHRH …) which will activate the hunger center in the brain (at the level of the lateral hypothalamus).

This in turn produces a hormone that will stimulate the pancreas to secrete insulin, causing hunger, pushing us to eat.

Mechanisms promoting satiety?

Food intake will provide stimuli that are produced:

  • During chewing movements;
  • With taste, captured by receptors of the mouth (mouth, with taste, body anticipates the effects of what we eat), smells captured by receptors of the nose (smell is the most indispensable partner taste);
  • With gastric distension evaluated by receptors of the stomach;
  • With food content in sugar, fat and amino acids (particles resulting from protein degradation) estimated by receptors located throughout the gastrointestinal tract;
  • With food temperature, the amount of sugar and fat, evaluated by brain receptors.

These stimuli associated with food intake will be activated receptors that induce the production of chemical messengers (Serotonin, neurotensin, glucagon …) which will activate the satiety center in the brain (ventromedial hypothalamus). This inhibits the center of hunger and food intake stops despite the persistence of excitatory stimuli. It was only later, when the body has got everything he needs, that excitatory stimuli disappear.

This mechanism is already well developed, is in fact much more complex because it involves other regions of the brain, resulting in emotional coloration and emotional power.

What origins?

Loss of appetite may be a consequence of multiple situations.

Mechanisms of hunger and satiety borrow complex ways. Any situation disturbing element at a level of these pathways is likely to cause anorexia.

The origin of anorexia may be the result of poor diet or bad habits:

  • Constant chewing gum, for example, stimulates the satiety center;
  • The consumption of food or beverages high in sugar saturates the body that ordered the temporary shutdown of the power supply.

Similarly, the diagnosis of loss of appetite should be careful because we are faced with cultural and social factors that make it very relative notion of loss or decreased appetite.

For example, Western society is a society that generally eat a lot, even too much, and when an individual eats strictly what his body needs and no more, we see that the food intake is minimal compared to our average food intake usual. We can then quickly conclude that this person has little or no appetite, she eats too little, while it is we who eat too much.

Loss of Appetite Causes

Power begets digestion which requires a lot of energy. A person whose body is mobilized for defense against disease, will reduce its appetite to save maximum strength. It will draw on its reserves nutrients necessary for its operation.

Anorexia can accompany any systemic disease (which causes food disgust):

In addition to organic disease, there are also psychological causes, or mixed.

  • Stress or a difficult emotional state can disrupt power supply: for example, the person is “disgusted” she was too much to “digest” emotionally able to swallow food;
  • Anorexia nervosa is a refusal to sustainable food, usually teenage schematically who refuses to grow and develop;
  • Depression, which is a passive loss of appetite. Food is a condition of survival, or someone who has more “taste of life” will no longer feel like eating;
  • Psychiatric delusions where people fear poisoning;
  • Phobic neuroses (fears) focused on food, etc.

Promoting factors?

There are conditions favoring the appearance of a loss of appetite.

Loss of appetite is a symptom so vast that it can occur in anyone, without specific risk factor, either occasionally or on a more prolonged.

Can still recall:

  • Very emotional relationship to food which will result in changes in feeding behavior in the slightest emotion;
  • External events difficult to live creating emotional tension up to depression (death, for example);
  • Old age;
  • Poor diet tailored to personal needs not bad by listening to the needs of his body;
  • Sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity;
  • Family history of diabetes;
  • Adolescence.

Loss of Appetite Complications

The prolonged anorexia may be accompanied by weight loss and weakening of the body and its defense capabilities.

Decreased immunity favors, for example, the development of infectious diseases.

The person may also get to present deficiencies (vitamins, minerals …) which are expressed by different symptoms surajoutant anorexia.

A major contributing factor is the combination of anorexia disappearance of the urge to drink.

While the person can live for several months on its fat reserves, it can only survive a few days without fluid intake.

Loss of Appetite Treatment

Treatment is primarily the treatment of the case, whether the correction of bad habits (food, life) or treatment of the disease responsible (physical or psychological).

There are drugs known to stimulate appetite, but they must be considered when dietary errors have been corrected, we made the diagnosis and supported the disease responsible.Otherwise they are not really effective.

We may, in cases where the loss of appetite causes weight loss, weight loss fight against this, by supplying the body energetic materials for its operation, so it does not draw too much on its reserves and does not weaken too .

You can use food very energetic particles and compounds used directly by the body, thus reducing the effort of digestion (calorie drinks, special preparations sold in pharmacies).

Loss of Appetite In children

Loss of appetite may interest the child at various stages of growth. It is the influence of the weight that considers the importance and reality of anorexia.

It is important not to judge too quickly decreased appetite. It is interesting to observe and record everything the child eats and drinks in a day, especially all snacks between meals.

Often, we see that eats more than enough, even if at mealtimes he eats little or complains of not being hungry.

We can also evaluate and correct, if necessary, the quality and balance of the diet.

Normally, as in animals, meals are determined by energy expenditure.

But man has invented a social time which adds to the biological time. The child is much closer to the real needs of the adult, it is not too packed. That is why sometimes it is fraught with social conventions.

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