Why do People With Parkinson’s Lose Weight?

Why do People With Parkinson’s 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 tremors. 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.

Why do People With Parkinson's Lose Weight?

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 depression

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 dementia, which is another side effect produced by Parkinson’s disease that leads to the development of improper feeding.

Protein Malabsorption: A few people restrict the food intake because Parkinson’s disease is capable of turning off levodopa effect, which reduces the absorption of proteins.

Constipation: Medication that helps in treating Parkinson’s disease also display side effects such as constipation, heartburn, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and others, which discourages food intake.

Stomach Irritation: Patients also develop gastroesophageal reflects disease, which creates an uncomfortable situation for the patient because it causes discomfort immediately after consumption of a meal.

Effects of Parkinson’s Disease

The following are the effects of Parkinson’s disease in weight loss:

  • Weakness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Osteoporosis – mineral density reduces in bones, which creates a situation of thinning the bones, making it difficult for the patient suffering from back in since disease to have resistance and the strength to prevent fractures.

Management of Weight Loss

Patients who have Parkinson’s disease will have to look towards a balanced diet that will help in giving the right quantity of proteins, calories, and other nutrients to the body to ensure that there is no weight loss. As the menu changes from one individual to another, the doctor refers to a dietician who will look into the preparation of the chart. Apart from the addition of the mentioned components, the dietician will also include vitamins, fluids, and dietary fiber that further help in preventing the occurrence of weight loss.

People diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may find losing weight in the initial stage or the final stage. In such cases, opting for high-calorie foods is preferable. The best examples are deserts, biscuits, and peanut butter, as they are rich in calories, and helps in filling the gap between the demand and supply. Furthermore, avoiding three large meals in a day is necessary and is crucial to replace the same with smaller meals at regular interval. It will ensure that the body is receiving the needed quantity of calories, proteins, nutrients, and fluids. It will also help in easy digestion. Apart from this, it is also necessary to time the intake of food in such a way that there will be no interference of protein with the absorption of levodopa. Addition of fluids will prevent dehydration and avoids the occurrence of urinary tract infections or development of kidney stones.


It is common for an individual diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to lose weight in the initial stage or the final stage as explained above. Although, the exact reasons are unknown, it is possible to prevent weight loss by following the management process as described above.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 29, 2023

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