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Clin Geriatr Med. 2002 Nov;18(4):661-73, v.

Pathophysiology of anorexia.

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, St. Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 South Grand Boulevard, M238, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.


A physiologic decline in food intake occurs with advancing age. The physiologic anorexia of aging and its associated weight loss predispose older persons to develop protein-energy malnutrition. In older persons a variety of social and psychologic factors, diseases, and medications can aggravate the physiologic anorexia and lead to severe weight loss. Many of these factors are amenable to treatment, resulting in a reversal of the underlying malnutrition. This article first reviews the physiologic factors responsible for anorexia in older persons. It then reviews the major pathologic processes responsible for producing protein-energy malnutrition in older persons.

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