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Mechanisms of the anorexia of aging—a review

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Wysokiński A1, Sobów T, Kłoszewska I, Kostka T.


Many, even healthy, older people fail to adequately regulate food intake and experience loss of weight. Aging-associated changes in the regulation of appetite and the lack of hunger have been termed as the anorexia of aging. The etiology of the anorexia of aging is multi-factorial and includes a combination of physiological changes associated with aging (decline in smell and taste, reduced central and peripheral drive to eat, delayed gastric emptying), pathological conditions (depression, dementia, somatic diseases, medications and iatrogenic interventions, oral-health status), and social factors (poverty, loneliness). However, exact mechanisms of the anorexia of aging remain to be elucidated. Many neurobiological mechanisms may be secondary to age-related changes in body composition and not associated with anorexia per se. Therefore, further studies on pathophysiological mechanisms of the anorexia of aging should employ accurate measurement of body fat and lean mass. The anorexia of aging is associated with protein-energy malnutrition, sarcopenia, frailty, functional deterioration, morbidity, and mortality. Since this symptom can lead to dramatic consequences, early identification and effective interventions are needed. One of the most important goals in the geriatric care is to optimize nutritional status of the elderly.

Resource: Age (Dordr). 2015 Aug;37(4):9821.