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What causes weight loss, difficult swallowing and dementia?

Answered by
Dr. Chintan Solanki


Practicing since :2007

Answered : 2406 Questions

Posted on Mon, 4 Aug 2014 in Mental Health
Question: My elderly stepfather whose favorite activity was eating has been having terrible difficulty doing so. He still craves certain foods often. Mom makes for him but he spits it out when fed. He is in a nursing facility trying to gain strength back after emergency hernia surgery. Has lost about 60 pounds in the process. He does have dimentia to an extent and doctors believe he may have had a stroke. They are also concerned about his swallowing. Any tips on how to get him eating again? And why does he spit out the food that he craved just a few hours earlier?
Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Fetures of demntia, neurologist opinion needed

Detailed Answer:
This is Dr. Chintan Solanki here, thanks for using healthcaremagic.
I read your stepfather's problem. It seems that he is in delirious state. Delirium is generally caused by some general medical condition.As you told he lost 60 pounds, there is possibility of nutritional disturbances.
Please investigate for Complete blood count,liver function test,renal function test and sodium,potassium level. If any abnormality, it should be corrected.

If all these investigations as well as pulse and blood pressure are normal, there is possibility of some infarct in brain(some part damaged due to lack of blood supply) and causing features of dementia because of this he is disoriented and not able to retain the food.For this problem neurologist opinion needed.

Try to give him liquid or semisolid diet.If still not retained,Ryle's tube(tube inserted through nose to stomach) can be inserted for feeding.
Another option is intravenous drip , if he is so weak.
If neurological opinion says no positive finding, psychiatrist opinion should be sorted.
I hope I have answered your query,for any doubt late me know.
Thanks & Regards.
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