Weight loss in advanced Alzheimer's disease part II: Interventions
Weight loss is a common occurrence in advanced Alzheimer's disease. Part II of this two-part article discusses effective interventions to prevent or improve weight loss in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Certain factors in the progression of the disease may promote weight loss and nutritional decline, such as abnormal eating behaviors, behavioral disturbances, dysphagia, taste and smell dysfunction, the effects of proinflammatory cytokines, or medication effects. Appropriate nutritional care for the Alzheimer's patient with weight loss begins with identification of all contributing factors, a review of medications, medical history, and a thorough physical examination. Other members of the care team, especially the nutritionist and speech therapist, can also identify factors contributing to weight loss and help to develop and implement a care plan. All interventions to avoid or rectify weight loss and promote nutritional well-being should be based on careful assessments, frequently evaluated for effectiveness, and should reflect the overall goals of care for the individual patient.
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