Definition of Loss or Lack of Appetite

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A loss of appetite means you have no desire to eat, even though you may not have eaten enough to supply your body with its basic caloric requirements. Food sounds unappealing or even disgusting, and you may feel full quicker than usual. Almost everyone has lost their appetite at some point, which is normal. The condition is only serious if it lasts longer than one or two days.

Physical Causes

When your appetite is gone for more than a few days, it could signify a serious medical condition. One of the first signs of cancer is a loss of appetite. Other physical conditions include infections, such as influenza or pneumonia, fever, heart conditions, alcoholism or liver conditions and inflamed bowels. Additionally, some medications can cause lack of appetite.

Emotional Causes

Depression is a one of the biggest emotional causes for loss of appetite. Other causes are eating disorders, such as anorexia or anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and stress.

Symptoms

After a while, a lack of appetite will result in certain symptoms. Fatigue and dizziness can happen when your body doesn't get the nutrients and calories it needs. If your sense of taste changes or you feel physical pain anywhere, check with your doctor. Those are two of the precursors of cancer. Nausea often accompanies or is the cause of a lack of appetite and can be suppressed by home remedies (ginger, tea, soda) or pharmaceutical drugs.

Long-Term Effects

Not eating for a prolonged period of time can have serious effects on your body. Without enough food, you won't get the nutrients your body needs, which will eventually result in malnutrition. A weakened immune system is also possible, since you won't be absorbing the necessary vitamins and minerals that strengthen it. Loss of appetite can also result in unhealthy weight loss.

Treatments

Dronabinol and megestrol are two drugs designed to stimulate appetite. Allowing yourself to eat whatever you want (even if it's technically "unhealthy") could also work; it's more important to get calories in your body, through whatever means, than it is to eat only healthy food.

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