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The Dangers of Weight Loss in the Elderly

Seniors who are experiencing unexplained weight loss should have a thorough medical evaluation in order to determine the cause or causes. Malnutrition from loss of body mass can create a cascade of other physical problems that can lead to a premature death. Here, Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care in Redondo Beach, presents just a few of the dangers of sudden weight loss for seniors and older adults.

Increased Incidence of Infection

Malnourished body cells cause tissues to become more susceptible to infections. When reserves are insufficient, the energy that is needed to stave off microbes and fight active infections becomes inadequate.

Electrolyte Imbalance

A continually decreasing intake of nutrients can cause a dangerous electrolyte imbalance in the body, especially in senior adults who are taking diuretics for congestive heart failure. Symptoms of an imbalance can include:

  • An altered mental state
  • Cardiac dysrythmias
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness


Poor nutrition in the elderly can contribute to increasing muscle weakness. Not only does frailty make it more difficult for seniors to complete their necessary activities of daily living, but makes them more prone to injury. Weakness contributes to problems with balance, and can cause falls and other accidents to occur.

Worsening of Current Conditions

Most seniors are dealing with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and other health issues. When elderly individuals become malnourished, their pre-existing conditions often become worse. The lack of proper nutrients makes it harder for the body to perform its normal functions and deal with its underlying medical conditions.

Increased Mortality

Recent studies have shown that seniors who have lost 10 percent or more of their total body weight within six months have a higher mortality rate, regardless of the cause of death. Increasing weight loss of this severity frequently occurs in patients who are experiencing the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease. If you have an aging parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, click here and learn more about in-home Alzheimer’s care in Redondo Beach, which can help to promote a higher quality of life at home, no matter what stage of the disease.

For more information about senior nutrition and eating well with age, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Redondo Beach today. Our highly trained and compassionate caregivers provide hourly and live-in care in Redondo Beach and are available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 310-303-2530 and schedule your complimentary, in-home consultation today.