CIDPUSA.org Autoimmune diseases
Coping with Appetite Disturbances
Appetite loss is the body's defense against ingesting anything that
could slow the healing process. Almost any infection can cause a loss
of appetite. A passing cold or flu virus could be responsible. Even
the weather. So could more serious things like tuberculosis, low
thyroid function, diseases of the heart or lungs or liver problems.
Bulimia is an illness characterized by uncontrolled episodes of
overeating usually followed by self-induced vomiting. Eating binges
may occur as often as several times a day. Induced vomiting known as
purging allows the eating to continue until interrupted by sleep,
abdominal pain, or the presence of another person.
The behavior is usually secretive, although clues to this disorder
include overactivity, peculiar eating habits, eating rituals, and
frequent weighing. Body weight is usually normal or low, although the
person may perceive themselves as overweight.
The cause of bulimia is inflammation , but factors thought to
contribute to its development are stress, maladaptive
behavior, self-identity conflict, and cultural overemphasis on
Bulimia is a bit different from anorexia because the person with
bulimia doesn't avoid eating. Instead, he or she eats a large amount
of food then gets rid of it quickly by vomiting or taking laxatives.
This is commonly known as "binge and purge" behavior.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder associated with a distorted
body image that may be caused by a mental disorder. Inadequate
calorie intake results in severe weight loss.
Unique features of anorexia are not only the strong desire to be very
thin, but also the altered body perception that goes with it. People
with anorexia have an intense fear of being fat. When a person has
anorexia, he or she hardly eats at all — and the small amount of food
that is eaten becomes an obsession. A person with anorexia may weigh
food before eating it or compulsively count the calories of
everything. It is not unusual for a person with anorexia to also
exercise excessively in an attempt to lose weight.
Other culprits of appetite loss include anti-histamines, over the
counter drugs, pain killers and prescriptions.
Aging itself can take its toll on the appetite. In older people the
metabolism slows down, muscle mass decreases and physical ailments
impede activity. On top of all this, taste sensations diminish and
stomach secretions don't flow like they used to. All of these things
contribute to appetite loss.
Controlling your appetite, is another matter. We often eat out of
habit, not hunger. People who do try to stop an addictive behavior,
such as smoking, often find themselves overeating. One reason is
To promoting good overall health is to eat a balanced,
predominantly plant-based and nutritionally dense diet. Most of your
daily calories should come from vegetables, fruits, whole grains and
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