I came across an interesting article about a piece of Alzheimer’s research I had not heard about before. Apparently, researchers at Weill Cornell’s Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute found a possible connection between the buildup of amyloid-beta peptides and weight loss. The peptides create the notorious plaques in the brain that is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The otherwise unexplained weight loss often occurred several years before symptoms of cognitive decline were diagnosed.
According to the researchers, the amyloid-beta peptides interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its weight. If the research proves to be accurate, it is yet another cruel and devastating way Alzheimer’s destroys the body.
My dad was always on the lean side so it’s difficult to say if he suffered from weight loss early on in the disease. By the mid to late stages, my father was certainly wasting away, but up until the last couple of months of his life, he had a voracious appetite.
The more we learn about Alzheimer’s, the more we understand that this disease can manifest itself in ways we never imagined before. Alzheimer’s is not just about losing your memory; the disease attacks the brain in ways that can impact everything from swallowing to weight control.
Did you notice otherwise unexplained weight loss in your loved one before they were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?
9 responses to “Is unexplained weight loss an early symptom of Alzheimer’s?”
Hi Joy, that’s an interesting question. I have dealt with Alzheimer’s with loved ones over 80. I always thought at that age, people just eat less and do end up dropping some of those pounds we were always used to them having. It’s definitely food for thought.
True, weight loss in seniors is not always due to dementia. I remember being shocked at how my parents seemed to “shrink” height-wise as they got older.
The shrinking in height is so true. My dad was always so tall to me and in his last years after a stroke I swore he shrunk by a foot!
My Mother died @89 and had severe Alzheimer’s symptoms the last 10 years of her life. I remember distinctly at her 51 year she had unexplained weight loss. Her Drs. did bone marrow tests, thyroid tests, etc. and no one ever was able to explain her weight loss. She went from 160lbs to to 130lbs in a blink of an eye. Years later, after prescription steroid medication, she plumped back up. She slimmed back down again when she lost her ability to swallow. I always thought swallowing was a “natural reflex” but honestly believe my Mother forgot what to do with food/liquid in her mouth – and would/could no longer swallow it.
Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Yes, I never realized how complex the swallowing process really is until I watched my dad fail a swallow test.
Hi Joy, I have nominated you to receive a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Please check it out here: – http://nancyoatts.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/our-dementia-community/
Thank you so much!
Hi! I have read and followed your blog for some time and I’ve nominated you to receive a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Please check it out here: http://annahnemouse.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/it-takes-a-village-to-do-everything/.
Thanks for the kind gesture!