Tag Archives: older adults

Dementia Drugs Linked to Harmful Weight Loss

A class of medications used to treat dementia has been found to cause harmful weight loss in older patients, according to a new study.

Dementia Drugs & Weight Loss

Drugs used to treat dementia may lead to harmful weight loss, according to study. Photo by Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

This is very important information for me because my grandmother is 83 years old and sometimes shows signs of dementia. She used to take medication for temporary dementia and she lost a lot of weight so this was a great concern to me. Luckily she is no longer on medication for memory loss but she is still losing weight because she has not been having an appetite. The fact that drugs for dementia may lead to dangerous fat loss should be a major concern for any older adult.

In the study, researchers reviewed Veterans Administration data from 2007 to 2010 on about 3,500 patients diagnosed with dementia. About 30 percent of patients who were prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors lost weight within one year compared to 22 percent who were on other medications.

“Our study provides evidence in a large, real-world population that cholinesterase inhibitors may contribute to clinically significant weight loss in a substantial proportion of older adults with dementia,” study lead author Dr. Meera Sheffrin, a geriatrics fellow in the School of Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release.

For those of you who do not know, cholinesterase inhibitors include Razadyne (galantamine), Exelon (rivastigmine), and Aricept (donepezil). All medications come with side effects such as loss of appetite so it has been a struggle helping my grandmother with weight management.

“Weight loss is a concern, not only for patients but also for their overwhelmed caregivers, who keep struggling with multiple challenges, including providing their loved ones with appropriate foods to maintain weight, and deliver quality of care,” said Dr. Giselle Wolf-Klein, director of geriatric education at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

I believe that doctors need to take a closer look when prescribing these drugs to older patients and weigh out the risks. If there are patients already on cholinesterase inhibitors and are experiencing severe weight loss, then slowly discontinuing that medication may be helpful. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease who face harmful weight loss may consider slowly discontinuing these medications as well, since the drugs only slow the illness down and does not stop it. Of course you have to consult and discuss all factors with your doctor before you make any major change.  If you or anyone you know are experiencing unhealthy weight loss and are on cholinesterase inhibitors, please consult your doctor immediately. Be safe and God bless!.

This study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Leeman Taylor
Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
Real Estate Investor & Internet Marketer

Source: Sheffrin MD et al. “Weight Loss Associated with Cholinesterase Inhibitors in Individuals with Dementia in a National Healthcare System” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 3 Aug 2015

Belly Fat Increased by Diet Sodas

Do you love diet sodas but still want to lose belly fat? If so, drinking diet sodas may not be a good idea according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Researchers discovered that people who drank diet soda gained nearly 3 times the belly fat over 9 years as those who did not consume diet soda (J AM Geriatr Soc 2015).

Diet Soda Linked to Belly Fat

According to the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, people who drank diet soda gained about 3 times the belly fat over 9 years. ClipArt Photo

In the study, 749 individuals ages 65 and older were asked, every few years, how many cans of soda they consumed a day, and how many of those sodas were diet or regular.

The results were very predictive of abdominal-fat gain, even after the researchers adjusted for factors like smoking, levels of physical activity and diabetes. Individuals who did not drink diet soda gained approximately 0.8 in. around the waistline over the study period, but the ones who consumed diet soda every day gained 3.2 in. The people who fell between – occasional drinkers of diet soda – gained nearly 1.8 in.

This is quite shocking news to me because I always believed that diet sodas were a healthy choice for weight loss but now research shows it increases belly fat over time for women over 40 and 65. Visceral fat – the fat that surrounds the abdominal organs- is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and inflammation which make this kind of fat the most dangerous. These findings, which authors refer to as “striking,” add to the rising body of evidence that no- and low-calorie sweeteners may contain some health concerns.

“Regular sugar has caloric consequences,” says the study’s senior author Dr. Helen Hazuda, professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. And one of those is that it triggers satiety – a sense of fullness or satisfaction. “Your body is use to knowing that a sweet taste means you are ingesting energy in the form of calories that, if you don’t burn them off, is going to convert to fat,” she says. Artificial sweeteners, however, confuse our bodies and weaken the link in our brains between sweetness and calories. That, Hazuda says, can lead to weight gain and cravings for sweeter and sweeter treats.

On the other hand, the Caloric Control Council, an association that represents the reduced-caloric food and beverage industry- disagreed with the study’s finding. “The use of low-calorie sweeteners in fat loss have been shown to have benefits,” the group mentioned.

Researchers found that the belly-fat gain was most common in people who were already overweight. Hazuda says when people think they’re doing something good by drinking artificially sweetened drinks, it’s “actually totally counterproductive.” For the most part, if you are seeking to lose belly fat, it would be a wise idea to reduce those diet sodas and choose a healthier diet choice such as natural fruit juice or water for fat loss.

Leeman Taylor
Senior Criminal Justice Major at Florida A&M University
Real Estate Investor & Internet Marketer

Source: Hazuda, H. William, K. Fowler, S. “Diet Soda Intake is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging” 17 March 2015 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society