Hyporexia or Lack of Appetite

Hyporexia can be caused by physiological, emotional, and social factors. Read this very interesting article to learn all about it!
Hyporexia or Lack of Appetite
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Hyporexia is the medical word used to refer to a reduction in appetite. Although this condition can occur at any age, it’s notably associated with aging.

The terms “hyporexia” and “anorexia” are similar. In fact, in practice, it’s difficult to distinguish between them. Anorexia causes a complete lack of appetite. Unfortunately, both cause health deterioration due to malnutrition or a lack of certain substances, such as vitamins.

Experts estimate that hyporexia affects approximately 60% of people over the age of 65. In fact, it seems that almost 90% of people over 80 suffer from it. In this article, we explain everything you should know about it.

What causes hyporexia?

As we mentioned above, hyporexia is a reduction in appetite. This loss of appetite leads to reduced food intake, which is why it’s usually accompanied by weight loss and tiredness.

The problem with hyporexia is that it can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies in the long term. It’s very common for people who suffer from it to have vitamin deficiencies and also suffer from anemia.

Although it’s true that energy requirements decrease with age, this isn’t the only cause of this condition. Loss of appetite is often associated with psychological problems, such as stress or depression.

An old man eating alone.

Similarly, many experts believe that hyporexia is an effect of the loss of sensitivity age causes. In other words, a decreased sense of smell or taste also affects appetite.

Other situations that can lead to hyporexia are both acute and chronic diseases. In addition, in older people, it’s very common to find cases of malignancies or digestive pathologies, which are a direct cause.

Other common causes

The truth is that appetite is influenced by many factors. In the case of the elderly, hyporexia is also related to situations such as living in a nursing home, lack of care, or loneliness.

Similarly, you should also note that certain drugs can cause it. Examples are codeine or morphine, and even chemotherapy.

In this regard, we can’t forget that, at this age, dental problems are very common. Any dental pathology or dry mouth, which also increase with age, can affect eating. Not being able to eat consistent foods can be very unappetizing.

A sad old man.

This article may interest you: Lack of Appetite in Pregnancy

What are the consequences of hyporexia?

Losing your appetite and eating less and less can lead to malnutrition. In the case of the elderly, this malnutrition usually appears slowly and progressively. Thus, it’s difficult to detect.

When someone is malnourished, their muscle mass decreases. Consequently, they have less and less strength and their feeling of fatigue increases. In addition, food is directly related to the state of health and the immune system.

Thus, hyporexia can cause any illness the person suffers from to worsen. Therefore, it’s very important to establish a treatment as soon as possible. The ideal thing is to change eating habits.

Experts recommend patients to eat smaller, more calorie-rich meals several times a day. In addition, you should try to choose foods that are appetizing and lengthen the time of meals, without any distractions. If these measures fail, you can try drugs that increase appetite.

Remember that the most important thing is to always consult your doctor if you have any questions. They’ll be able to assess the situation and recommend concrete measures for your case, according to the cause.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.