Weight Loss Cause to Premature Death for Older People
There is a common notion that being fat will always end you up with diseases, and therefore one should always try to lose excess weight for good health. This notion was majorly stuck with individuals with ages less than 50 years but, over the years, this stereotype has made its way into the minds of everyone irrespective of age.
Surprisingly, as per the new research, it is said that weight loss can be a significant reason for the premature death of the elderly. Though a little hard to believe, researchers have conducted experiments to prove that weight loss can cause untimely death in older people.
Senior citizens or elderly people must have top-up health insurance to ensure financial aid during medical emergencies.
Recently, JAMA Network Open published a study report which identified a connection between the longevity of healthy-aged adults and changes in their body weights.
The data included information about 16,703 people of age 70 and above living in Australia and around 2,411 people of age 65 and above living in the United States. At the time of the survey, none of the individuals had any medical condition like dementia, chronic illness, cardiovascular diseases, etc. which can be regarded as the cause of the untimely death of the senior citizens.
4.4 years after the survey, a follow-up was conducted that revealed that around 1,256 people died. Tests identified that weight loss of approx 5% resulted in 33% and 26% of mortality risk in men and women respectively. It was also made clear that a weight loss of 10% resulted in 3x and 2x mortality risk in men and women respectively.
Sultana Monira, the study’s primary author and a senior research fellow at Preventive Medicine and Monash University’s School of Public Health in Melbourne, Australia, argues that elderly people must understand the effects of weight loss.
Even 5% of weight loss in the absence of any illness can increase the mortality chances. In such a situation, it is crucial to visit a primary care provider to be aware of any early signs of unknown health problems that can result in unexpected death.
Can Unintentional Weight Loss Cause Premature Death?
The researchers discovered that cancer and cardiovascular disease are two primary causes of premature death related to weight loss. For instance, a 10% weight reduction can increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer by 3 and 2 times, respectively, in men and women.
The study lacked data analysis that showed the increased risk of premature death related to weight loss because it was not a controlled experiment.
There were various drawbacks to the study as well. Firstly, there were information gaps regarding the cause of weight loss. One of the common causes of weight loss among younger people, but not among older ones, was discovered to be surgery. The researchers’ inability to collect information about changes in the subjects’ physical activity was a further obstacle.
Unintentional Weight Loss May Be a Sign of Underlying Problems
Bellal Joseph, a professor at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, in Tucson, claims that many factors can contribute to weight loss in older adults resulting in medical problems.
Unknown weight loss could be a result of malnutrition which can be a source of physical weakness, fatigue, mobility difficulty and increased chance of infection. Another possible consequence can be frailty. It is a syndrome caused due to aging and the depletion of physiological reserves.
Under this syndrome, the patient suffers from an increased risk of falls, disabilities, and death due to stressors. Weight loss also includes loss of muscle mass which affects the strength of individuals. This affects significantly negatively among aged people.
Another concerning point is the association of weight loss with the mental health of individuals. It can be a sign of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disease.
It is important to note that if this issue is left untreated, it can result in physical decline or premature death in the worst-case scenario. Therefore, Dr. Joseph suggests that anyone suffering from such an issue should visit a doctor.
People should be aware of these effects so that they can carefully monitor their weight loss and give the issue the necessary attention. Aged people may appear okay with decreasing weight, but they may be experiencing problems. Looking healthy and being healthy are two distinct things.
To sum up, it is clear that weight loss can be an alarming sign in association with older adults. Any individual of age above 50 years should keep track of changes in their weight. Apart from tracking your health, one must also ensure timely health insurance renewal. You must make a doctor’s visit, if there is any unknown or unexplained change.