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Parkinson`s Disease/Parkinsons and weight loss


My father is 84 and has had Parkinson's for about 8 years.  In the last 3 years or so he has lost a lot of weight.  He eats fairly well, and still has an appetite, but the weight loss is consistent. He is a tall man - his height before the disease was 6'3", and he now weighs 140.  He has been tested for other problems that may be causing the weight loss but there seems to be no explanation.  Is this extreme weight loss typical?  I have not been able to find much information about it.

Hello Marianne,

Weight loss in PD is a documented fact, with some people losing 40 to 50 pounds after they were diagnosed. Persons with PD are in fact 4 times more likely to lose weight over a period of time than are matched ‘controls’ -- people of similar age and background. A larger proportion of women than men with PD experience weight loss. Of course, not all people with PD experience weight loss. But the fact that many do is an interesting act that needs to be explained. Do persons with PD eat less after they are diagnosed? Are those with depression the ones who experience weight loss? Many people with PD have difficulty with smell, and, if you lose your sense of smell, your appetite often suffers as well. Perhaps all that shaking and trembling, not to mention the dyskinesias associated with use of levodopa, causes more energy to be used and more fat to be burned. Yet, none of these potential explanations of weight loss in PD have stood up to rigorous testing. Persons with PD eat just as much as their peers whether or not they are depressed, lack a normal sense of smell or experience severe dyskinesias. Others have hypothesized a role for autonomic dysfunction or altered metabolism. So the mystery of weight loss in PD remains just that, a mystery.

I hope this helps answer your question,

Best regards,

Source: Kashihara K. Weight loss in Parkinson's disease. J Neurol. 2006 Dec;253 Suppl 7:VII38-41. Review.

Parkinson`s Disease

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