What causes weight loss in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and what are its effects?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Divakara Kedlaya, MBBS; Chief Editor: Ryan O Stephenson, DO  more...
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Answer

Answer

Weight loss is another common and serious issue in ALS and is usually related to the progression of dysphagia but cannot always be attributed to dysphagia. Weight loss had a negative impact on quality of life and was associated with shorter survival. [21] Weight loss also may develop in patients with and without bulbar involvement because of generalized fatigue, poor appetite, and associated depression. Malnutrition is a poor prognosticating factor and correlates with increased risk of death; therefore, once a patient has lost 5-10% of normal body weight, consider enteric feeding and discuss options with the patient and caregivers.


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