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Will Parkinson’s Cause Weight Loss

What Are The Primary Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Weight Management

There are four primary motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability . Observing two or more of these symptoms is the main way that physicians diagnose Parkinson’s.

It is important to know that not all of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to be considered. In fact, younger people may only notice one or two of these motor symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Not everyone with Parkinson’s disease has a tremor, nor is a tremor proof of Parkinson’s. If you suspect Parkinson’s, see a neurologist or movement disorders specialist.


Read more about Parkinson’s tremors



mask-like expression of the face

Postural Instability

Walking or Gait Difficulties

episodes of freezing


Vocal Symptoms

Foods Containing Nutrients That People May Be Deficient In

Some research suggests that people with Parkinson’s often have certain nutrient deficiencies, including deficiencies in iron, vitamin B1, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.

The above study points out that some of these deficiencies may be associated with neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, which are key factors in Parkinson’s.

Therefore, people with Parkinson’s may wish to consume more of the following foods.

Foods containing iron

The following foods are good sources of iron:

  • liver
  • certain fortified foods

Impulsive Behaviors In Parkinsons Disease

The medications used to treat PD may cause impulsive behaviors as a side effect. Impulsive behaviors usually are in contrast to how a person would have acted before PD and may include excessive shopping, unusual or increased sexual behavior, gambling, abuse of medications, or binge eating. This side effect tends to occur in people whose PD is more advanced and who are taking high doses of medications for their PD; however, it can occur at any of the disease. Impulsive behaviors often begin when a new medication is added to a treatment regimen or when the dosage of a medication is increased. Any side effect, including impulsive behaviors, should be brought to the attention of a healthcare professional.1

Aspect 3: Mechanism Of Weight Loss/malnutrition In Pd

Body weight and nutritional status regulation is a complicated progress in the body. Through a process known as energy homeostasis, the body maintain body weight. In the context of PD, disease-related and treatment-related factors may affect the energy balance. In this section, we will try to present evidence accounting for weight loss/malnutrition from basic mechanism of energy balance to detailed potential determinants.

Forget Fava Beans For Parkinsons

Weight Loss in Parkinson

Fava beans contain an amino acid known as levodopa. Levodopa is an active ingredient in some Parkinson’s medications. Seems like a good reason to eat a lot of fava beans, right?

Nope. Dr. Gostkowski explains that the amount in the beans is tiny compared to what’s in your medication. “You can’t eat enough fava beans to have any effect on your symptoms,” he says.

Bananas also have levodopa in them, Dr. Gostkowski says. But, like fava beans, it’s not possible to eat enough bananas to affect PD symptoms. Of course, if you like fava beans or bananas, enjoy! But don’t go overboard or expect them to work like medication. Eat a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains for balance.

Add Medication For A Winning Combo

Diet and exercise are important for managing PD, but don’t forget about medications. Take them regularly and exactly as your doctor prescribes.

If you tend to forget your medication, set an alarm to remind you. You can also use a pillbox that’s labeled with days and times of day. “Take your meds on a set schedule, don’t skip doses and don’t double dose,” says Dr. Gostkowski. “When you’re diligent about taking your medications and following a healthy lifestyle, you’ll feel your best.”

Strategies For Maintaining A Stable Body Weight In Pd

As weight gain may be desirable or deleterious, the patient’s individual situation should be thoroughly evaluated. Before intervention the following factors should be assessed:

  • Actual BMI and previous weight loss, normal weight, previous fluctuations of body weight, and eating disorders.

  • Estimation of pre- and post-surgery EE: motor symptoms, dyskinesia, physical activity.

  • Actual alimentation, eating habits, and eating disorders.

  • Psychological assessment: apathy, depression, hyperactivity.

  • Quality of sleep .

In DBS patients, nutritional intervention has been shown to be effective and should be performed routinely . As weight gain occurs essentially in the first months after surgery, information and dietetic guidance of the patient should start before surgery. As energy requirement is often diminished after successful surgery, an energy-reduced diet should take place and be maintained lifelong. Patients should be encouraged to control their body weight regularly, to supervise their alimentation, and to practice regular physical exercise. These measures should be considered as an adaptation of lifestyle rather than short-time diet.

Weight Loss And Malnutrition In Patients With Parkinson’s Disease: Current Knowledge And Future Prospects

Tao Wang

  • 1Department of Neurology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  • 2Department of Neurology, Anhui Provincial Hospital, The First Affiliated Hospital of University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Division of Basic Neuroscience, and Mailman Neuroscience Research Center, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, United States

Weight Loss In Parkinson’s Disease

If you have Parkinson’s disease, you may feel that one of the few benefits of PD is weight loss, but that’s not necessarily true.

Weight loss may be a “red flag” indicating more severe disease since those who experience weight loss have been found to have a faster worsening of their disease statistically. There are many theories about the origin of weight loss for people with Parkinson’s disease. Some believe a loss of smell, which can affect appetite, leads to weight loss as well as increased energy expenditure and fat burning due to tremors and dyskinesias, which are involuntary movements induced by levodopa.??

Enteric Nervous System And Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal functions are regulated by the enteric nervous system, a neuronal network organized in two plexuses, myenteric and submucosal, which control gut motility and secretion .

In PD, the enteral nervous system is affected by alpha-synucleinopathy which may explain the high incidence of gastrointestinal disorders, beginning in pre-motor stages of the disease. The most frequent symptom is chronic constipation affecting up to 89% of PD patients . The primary cause for constipation is impaired peristalsis with slow colonic transit due to neurodegeneration of myenteric neurons, which may be modulated by dopamine . In some patients, constipation is secondary to abnormal coordination of the rectoanal reflex with paradoxical contraction of the puborectalis muscle, which leads to defecatory dysfunction . Loss of serotonergic neurons in raphe nucleus is thought to be involved in this clinical feature . Gastroparesis is characterized by slowed emptying of food into the small bowel leading to postprandial fullness, early satiety, nausea, vomiting, and bloating . Gastrointestinal disorders affect the quality of life and may limit food intake thus contributing to mal- and under-nutrition in PD .

Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience

Institute of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences , China

Reviewed by

Guo-Jun Chen

Chongqing Medical University, China

The editor and reviewers’ affiliations are the latest provided on their Loop research profiles and may not reflect their situation at the time of review.


Weight Loss In Parkinsons Disease: The Relationship With Motor Symptoms And Disease Progression

Maria G. Cersosimo

1Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Unit, Hospital de Clinicas, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina


Objectives. To determine the prevalence of weight loss in PD patients, its relationship to the severity of motor manifestations and appetite changes. Methods. 144 PD patients and 120 controls were evaluated in a single session. All subjects were asked about changes in body weight and appetite. PD patients were examined with the UPDRS-III and the Hoehn and Yahr scales. Subscores of tremor, bradykinesia /rigidity, and non-dopaminergic symptoms were analyzed individually. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine an association between WL and PD motor manifestations. Results. 48.6 % of PD patients presented WL compared to 20.8 % of controls . Weight losers were significantly older and had longer disease duration, higher scores in HY stages, UPDRS-III, and NDS-subscore. Multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated that WL was associated with NDS-subscore and older age . Appetite in PD cases losing weight was unchanged , decreased , or even increased . Our results showed that WL occurs in almost half of PD patients and it is largely the consequence of disease progression rather than involuntary movements or a decrease in food intake.

1. Introduction

2. Methods

2.1. Subjects
2.2. Assessments
2.3. Statistical Analysis

3. Results

3.1. Participants

Among the 120 controls mean age was 62.6 ±10.9 years old .


Weight Changes In Parkinsons Disease

The Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

PD may cause a person to gain weight or to lose weight. Changes to weight can have negative effects on a person’s overall health. Weight loss can lead to losing muscle mass and strength and may increase the risk of infection or . Weight gain can lead to being overweight, increasing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as putting extra stress on joints.1

Weight loss may be influenced by depression or the loss of the sense of smell and taste changes that some people with PD experience. Some for PD can cause nausea, which may make patients eat less. Motor symptoms of PD can also make it challenging to bring food to the mouth or to swallow.1

Weight gain can be a side effect of treatment for PD. Some medications for PD have been associated with compulsive behaviors, including binge eating. Medications for psychiatric symptoms of PD can also contribute to weight gain. Deep brain stimulation, a surgical treatment that involves implanting and stimulating electrodes in the brain, can also cause weight gain as a side effect.1

There are several strategies that can help people with PD to manage their weight, including eating a balanced with a variety of foods and getting regular . A doctor or registered dietitian can provide specific strategies aimed at either gaining or losing weight.1

What Are The Various Reasons Due To Which Parkinsons Patients Gain Weight

Parkinson’s patient suffer from depression, reduced cognitive abilities, sensory deterioration – mainly smell and taste with an impaired facility to receive pleasure from eating that leads to incorrect food habits. From the literature review, an interesting fact about the possible role of ability to feel pleasure and motivation towards consuming food has come forward. Due to the impaired ability to feel pleasure regarding food, Parkinson patients eat less and therefore lose weight. A trend of gaining weight has been observed after deep brain simulation which indicates an elevation in pleasure and motivation towards food consumption. However, specifics studies need to be conducted to refute or confirm the findings. Such studies will help those working with patients by creating awareness about the factors in work in order to come up with solutions to manage the effects of deficits and restore normal weight levels of the individuals already enduring because of the disease.

Factors such as epigenetic, metabolic, genetic & environmental factors define and influence the body weight. In addition to that, physiological setting homeostatic behavioral adjustments can protect against gaining of weight as well as loss of weight.

I Have Terrible Insomnia Are There Any Nutritional Choices I Can Make That Might Help Me Fall Asleep And Stay Asleep Longer

Sleep issues are very common among people with Parkinson’s. In fact, changes in sleeping habits are often among the first signs of Parkinson’s.

Fortunately, there are changes you can make to improve your ability to get the rest you need.

Sleep hygiene is an umbrella term for different actions you can take to enhance your sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene can go a long way towards improving both the quantity and the quality of your sleep each night. When it comes to optimal nutrition for sleep, most doctors and dieticians recommend watching what you eat and when you eat it, limiting your fluid intake and limiting your sugar intake.

If your poor sleep is actually a result of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder , be sure to speak with your doctor and your care partner so you can get the help you need.

Living Well with REM Sleep Behavior Disorder with Benzi Kluger

The 17 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Parkinsons Nutrition

One of the topics our community members consistently ask us about is nutrition. It’s not an easy topic to address, though, because it has so many layers and there’s no one size fits all nutritional plan. Still, leaving it at that is not enough. In the first post in this series, we addressed the most important fact to know about Parkinson’s nutrition and in the final post, we’ll address how to experiment with your nutrition while living with Parkinson’s. In this post, we opened up our inbox and pulled together the 17 most common questions we’ve received in the past year about Parkinson’s nutrition, and we’ve done our best to answer them.

We wish there were more definitive answers to these questions and that there was such thing as the one, proven nutritional plan that works for all people trying to live well with Parkinson’s,  but that’s not the case. The best we can do for now, therefore, is share the research as it stands, suggest potential pathways for you to investigate with your care team and encourage you to find the optimal path for you, even if it takes some time and a fair bit of trial and error.

With that said, here we go…

Causes Of Weight Loss In Parkinsons Disease

Weight loss in relation to Parkinson’s disease can occur for a number of . Decreased appetite, additional energy output, and changes in digestion can slow your food intake. And this ultimately can cause a shift in body weight.

It makes sense, really. Dad’s tremors cause him to expend energy 24 hours a day. That’s a substantial amount of time that is spent in motion. And the body needs fuel to maintain this motion.

Dad seems to eat about the same amount, but what he chooses to eat has changed. My little sister makes sure there’s a constant supply of densely packed foods, such as avocados. They juice every morning, squeezing the nutrients out of a shocking amount of produce.

Sometimes I giggle to see him eating a midnight bowl of ice cream or a handful of chocolate. Weight loss almost seems like an opportunity to eat his favorite treats. Dad looks thin, but his doctor seems to think his weight is stable.

Why Do People With Parkinsons Lose Weight

People who have parkinson’s disease notice a reduction in the weight. The reason behind the weight loss is unknown. However, the weight loss is apparent and occurs in early or late stages of the Parkinson’s disease. The reason behind the decline in weight is because the individual is receiving less intake of calorie than the requirement. The individual suffering from Parkinson’s disease loses the calories at a high rate due to hyperkinetic moments, such as . Therefore, it is essential for the person who has Parkinson’s disease to follow a healthy and balanced diet that will ensure that the patient does not show a significant weight loss.

There will be other contributing factors apart from Parkinson’s disease that is responsible for weight loss. These factors include:

Difficulty in Swallowing: Difficulty in swallowing, which discourages the intake of solid food, especially when the disease reaches the final stage

Loss of Interest in Food: Loss of appetite due to the occurrence of the disease and

Difficulty in Eating: Difficulty in consuming food due to the side effects produced by the Parkinson’s disease such as tremors and bradykinesia, which is a symptom that reduces the initiation of movement.

Improper Feeding: Mental disturbances or , which is another side effect produced by Parkinson’s disease that leads to the development of improper feeding.

Determinants Of Weight Loss In Parkinsonism

The multivariable Cox regression model examining the determinants of weight loss was constructed for all 275 parkinsonian patients. Variables included and excluded from the models of outcomes of weight loss are listed in . At diagnosis, parkinsonian patients who went on to develop sustained weight loss at any time after diagnosis were on average 4.5 years older and had a 1-point-higher median part I Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale score than those without sustained weight loss .

Multivariable Cox regression models for time to weight loss and time to selected outcomes in parkinsonian patients

After multivariable adjustment, only age was independently associated with developing sustained clinically significant weight loss at any time after parkinsonism diagnosis . There was an indication that atypical parkinsonism may be associated with greater weight loss than PD . The association between lower dependency measured by the Barthel Index and weight loss after adjustment for age and diagnostic group was probably spurious because of collinearity.

Aspect 2: Relationship Between Weight Loss/malnutrition And Pd

It has long been recognized that there is a relationship between weight loss and PD. Amounting evidence support weight loss may begin at the early stage of PD, even several years before the diagnosis, and may be more pronounced in patients with greater disease severity . A prospective cohort study involving 10,812 men reported that subjects who lost 0.5 units of body mass index per decade during the follow-up time had more than a 2-fold risk for developing PD when compared with men having stable BMI . Given this considerable list of association between weight loss and PD, one is left asking: whether it is a chicken or egg problem?

Given the lengthy latency period of PD, it cannot be excluded that the observed weight loss before the diagnosis of PD may stem from subclinical effects of PD rather than an independent pathogenesis. That is to say, weight loss is the consequence of PD. There are ample evidences supporting the effect of PD on weight loss for this time being .

Figure 1. Postulated determinants of weight loss in PD. NPY, NeuropeptideY; LC, locus coreruleus.

What Is Parkinson Disease

Weight loss in Parkinson

Parkinson disease is a movement disorder. It can cause the muscles to tighten and become rigid This makes it hard to walk and do other daily activities. People with Parkinson’s disease also have tremors and may develop cognitive problems, including memory loss and dementia.

Parkinson disease is most common in people who are older than 50. The average age at which it occurs is 60. But some younger people may also get Parkinson disease. When it affects someone younger than age 50, it’s called early-onset Parkinson disease. You may be more likely to get early-onset Parkinson disease if someone in your family has it. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing Parkinson disease. It’s also much more common in men than in women.


Parkinson disease is a chronic and progressive disease.  It doesn’t go away and continues to get worse over time.

I Have Difficulty Drinking The Recommended Daily Allowance Of Water How Critical Is It That I Drink That Much

Drinking enough water is important to help promote general health and relieve symptoms of constipation. When someone experiences long periods of dehydration, their cells can’t function properly and die, which can lead to degeneration and disease. Dehydration also leads to poor circulation and blood flow, which can result in high blood pressure, organ failure and more.

You may experience decreased thirst with Parkinson’s, so it can be helpful to create a hydration plan, carry a water bottle and track your daily water intake to ensure you’re drinking enough. If drinking water is a challenge, you can also supplement your fluid intake with juice—if unintended weight gain isn’t a problem for you—or decaffeinated tea.

Dehydration in Parkinson’s: Symptoms, Risks & Tips

Dietitians Speech Pathologists And Mental Health Experts Can Help Too

Talking to a registered dietitian can help you make changes to your diet — for example, by learning how to use thickening liquids or soften solid foods.

If swallowing continues to be a problem, a speech-language pathologist may be able to help you find ways to make swallowing easier.

“A speech pathologist who is also a swallow therapist can do a swallow study, a test during which you try different foods and they monitor how you swallow using an machine,” Subramanian explains. “Food aspiration, or when food gets into your lungs, can be a problem with Parkinson’s disease, so the swallow study can identify problem foods and your doctors can recommend changes and diet modifications to make eating safer.”

Finally, as anxiety or depression are common in people with Parkinson’s and can suppress appetite, it’s important to recognize symptoms associated with these behavioral health conditions and seek out treatment if needed.

Dental Problems In Parkinsons Disease

Dental hygiene is often compromised in a person with PD due to their motor symptoms, which can lead to an increased risk of cavities and gum disease. In addition, the motor symptoms of PD may make periodic dental examinations challenging. People with PD may find it easier to use an electric toothbrush, using their stronger hand. Dentists may also recommend topical stannous fluoride gel treatments, which can protect tooth enamel from cavities. Visits to the dentist can be coordinated after a dosage of PD medication has taken effect.1

Why Weight Loss Is Concerning

Researchers have found that weight loss, defined as the loss of an average of one pound per month, is linked with a significantly lower quality of life. ???Though weight loss was not found to lower survival, the small sample size of some of these studies makes a true judgment of the effect of weight loss on survival difficult to assess.

One concern is that people with Parkinson’s disease appear to be at a higher risk of osteoporosis, and osteoporosis is a significant cause of both illness and death in older adults. ???Weight loss has been found to increase the risk of  in people with PD—people who already have an elevated risk of developing osteoporosis.?? Weight loss also increases the risk of pressure ulcers , another condition which is already increased in people with PD due to a redistribution of body fat and restriction of movement. ???More than just weight loss,  is another concern and is considered a significant cause of premature death.

One study found that those with PD who lost weight had faster disease progression.?? However, researchers aren’t sure if weight loss causes Parkinson’s to worsen or if weight loss is the result of the more severe disease.

Aspet4: Evaluation And Management

Table 2. Nutritional assessment measures available at present.

Given that the continuous progress of weight loss and undernutrition, it is of crucial importance to evaluate body weight and nutritional status for every PD patients routinely at the time of diagnosis and follow-up stage in order to ensure early detection and improved outcomes . Clinicians should acquire a comprehensive body weight and nutritional information at the time of diagnosis. BMI and nutritional assessment tools can offer an overview of weight and nutritional status of newly diagnosed PD patients. As weight loss progresses with disease stages, it is necessary to monitor weight and nutritional status routinely. Weighting monthly was advanced by some researchers during the follow-up stage. Moreover, it is necessary to use nutrition assessment tools such as MNA to monitor nutritional status every 6 months throughout the follow-up stage.

Figure 2. Nutritional assessment and management in patients with Parkinson’s disease. BMI, body mass index; MNA, Mini-Nutritional Assessment; PEG, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.

Cognitive Impairment And Depression

The dementia is more common and severe in the late stages, the prevalence of which is about 20% of PD cases in cross-sectional studies and 80% in longitudinal studies . Furthermore, mild cognitive impairment may be present early in the course of PD. The characteristics of cognitive impairments in PD are attention, executive dysfunction and visuospatial processing deficits , which may be implicated in eating behavior. Several studies have indicated that PD patients with impaired cognitive function tend to be at increased risk of weight loss , while another study has not observed this correlation . It is important to note that some studies excluded patients with dementia or cognitive dysfunctions from their sample and this exclusion criterion might sweep the relation between cognitive decline and weight loss under the carpet. Intriguingly, although patients treated with DBS may experience weight gain during a follow-up period, subtle cognitive declines has been announced after the surgery by some studies . This cognitive side-effect questions the effect of cognition on weight loss in PD. Thus, further studies are needed to corroborate the relation between cognition and weight loss in PD. Since cognitive deficits progress with the disease, a long observation time would be needed and patients with different severities of cognitive decline should be included.


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