If your pet loses weight quickly, you need to see a veterinarian. Unexplained sudden weight loss in cats and dogs can signify disease or some other health issue. Weight loss issues related to specific diseases include: As chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) advances, about 35% of patients experience severe weight loss. Diarrhea, also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. It often lasts for a few days and can result in. Malabsorbtion — An impairment of food absorption such as a lack of digestive enzymes. Retrieved 2 May Findings from three retrospective and three prospective studies. Scoring allows categorization of older adults as well nourished normalat risk, or malnourished. Symptoms Unexplained weight loss. Is honey a good substitute for sugar?
Diarrhea , also spelled diarrhoea , is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. The most common cause is an infection of the intestines due to either a virus , bacteria , or parasite ; a condition known as gastroenteritis. Prevention of infectious diarrhea is by improved sanitation , clean drinking water , and hand washing with soap. Diarrhea is defined by the World Health Organization as having three or more loose or liquid stools per day, or as having more stools than is normal for that person.
Acute diarrhea is defined as an abnormally frequent discharge of semisolid or fluid fecal matter from the bowel, lasting less than 14 days, by World Gastroenterology Organization. Secretory diarrhea means that there is an increase in the active secretion, or there is an inhibition of absorption. There is little to no structural damage. The most common cause of this type of diarrhea is a cholera toxin that stimulates the secretion of anions , especially chloride ions. Therefore, to maintain a charge balance in the gastrointestinal tract , sodium is carried with it, along with water.
In this type of diarrhea intestinal fluid secretion is isotonic with plasma even during fasting. Osmotic diarrhea occurs when too much water is drawn into the bowels. If a person drinks solutions with excessive sugar or excessive salt, these can draw water from the body into the bowel and cause osmotic diarrhea. Or it can be caused by osmotic laxatives which work to alleviate constipation by drawing water into the bowels.
In healthy individuals, too much magnesium or vitamin C or undigested lactose can produce osmotic diarrhea and distention of the bowel. A person who has lactose intolerance can have difficulty absorbing lactose after an extraordinarily high intake of dairy products. In persons who have fructose malabsorption , excess fructose intake can also cause diarrhea. High-fructose foods that also have a high glucose content are more absorbable and less likely to cause diarrhea.
Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol often found in sugar-free foods are difficult for the body to absorb and, in large amounts, may lead to osmotic diarrhea.
Exudative diarrhea occurs with the presence of blood and pus in the stool. Inflammatory diarrhea occurs when there is damage to the mucosal lining or brush border, which leads to a passive loss of protein-rich fluids and a decreased ability to absorb these lost fluids. Features of all three of the other types of diarrhea [ clarification needed ] can be found in this type of diarrhea. It can be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, parasitic infections, or autoimmune problems such as inflammatory bowel diseases.
It can also be caused by tuberculosis, colon cancer, and enteritis. If there is blood visible in the stools, it is also known as dysentery. The blood is a trace of an invasion of bowel tissue. Dysentery is a symptom of, among others, Shigella , Entamoeba histolytica , and Salmonella.
Diarrheal disease may have a negative impact on both physical fitness and mental development. Diarrhea can cause electrolyte imbalances , renal impairment , dehydration , and defective immune system responses. When oral drugs are administered, the efficiency of the drug is to produce a therapeutic effect and the lack of this effect may be due to the medication travelling too quickly through the digestive system, limiting the time that it can be absorbed.
Clinicians try to treat the diarrheas by reducing the dosage of medication, changing the dosing schedule, discontinuation of the drug, and rehydration. The interventions to control the diarrhea are not often effective. Diarrhea can have a profound effect on the quality of life because fecal incontinence is one of the leading factors for placing older adults in long term care facilities nursing homes.
Chronic diarrhea can be the part of the presentations of a number of chronic medical conditions affecting the intestine. There are many causes of infectious diarrhea, which include viruses , bacteria and parasites. In the elderly, particularly those who have been treated with antibiotics for unrelated infections, a toxin produced by Clostridium difficile often causes severe diarrhea.
Parasites, particularly protozoa e. The broad-spectrum antiparasitic agent nitazoxanide has shown efficacy against many diarrhea-causing parasites. Other infectious agents, such as parasites or bacterial toxins, may exacerbate symptoms.
However, for ill or malnourished individuals, diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and can become life-threatening. Malabsorption is the inability to absorb food fully, mostly from disorders in the small bowel, but also due to maldigestion from diseases of the pancreas. Another possible cause of diarrhea is irritable bowel syndrome IBS , which usually presents with abdominal discomfort relieved by defecation and unusual stool diarrhea or constipation for at least 3 days a week over the previous 3 months.
Open defecation is a leading cause of infectious diarrhea leading to death. Poverty is a good indicator of the rate of infectious diarrhea in a population. This association does not stem from poverty itself, but rather from the conditions under which impoverished people live. The absence of certain resources compromises the ability of the poor to defend themselves against infectious diarrhea. Poverty also restricts the ability to provide age-appropriate, nutritionally balanced diets or to modify diets when diarrhea develops so as to mitigate and repair nutrient losses.
The impact is exacerbated by the lack of adequate, available, and affordable medical care. One of the most common causes of infectious diarrhea, is a lack of clean water. Often, improper fecal disposal leads to contamination of groundwater. This can lead to widespread infection among a population, especially in the absence of water filtration or purification.
Human feces contains a variety of potentially harmful human pathogens. Proper nutrition is important for health and functioning, including the prevention of infectious diarrhea. It is especially important to young children who do not have a fully developed immune system. Zinc deficiency , a condition often found in children in developing countries can, even in mild cases, have a significant impact on the development and proper functioning of the human immune system.
Children who have lowered levels of zinc have a greater number of instances of diarrhea, severe diarrhea, and diarrhea associated with fever. However, there is some discrepancy when it comes to the impact of vitamin A deficiency on the rate of disease. While some argue that a relationship does not exist between the rate of disease and vitamin A status,  others suggest an increase in the rate associated with deficiency.
Some medications, such as the penicillum can cause diarrhea. The classes of medications that are known to cause diarrhea are laxatives, antacids, heartburn medications, antibiotics, anti-neoplastic drugs, anti-inflammatories as well as many dietary supplements. According to two researchers, Nesse and Williams , diarrhea may function as an evolved expulsion defense mechanism. As a result, if it is stopped, there might be a delay in recovery.
The researchers indeed themselves observed that: Diarrhea may represent a defense mechanism". A severity score is used to aid diagnosis in children. Numerous studies have shown that improvements in drinking water and sanitation WASH lead to decreased risks of diarrhoea.
In institutions, communities, and households, interventions that promote hand washing with soap lead to significant reductions in the incidence of diarrhea. Basic sanitation techniques can have a profound effect on the transmission of diarrheal disease. This lack of access is one of many challenges to proper hygiene in less developed countries.
Given that water contamination is a major means of transmitting diarrheal disease, efforts to provide clean water supply and improved sanitation have the potential to dramatically cut the rate of disease incidence. Chlorine treatment of water, for example, has been shown to reduce both the risk of diarrheal disease, and of contamination of stored water with diarrheal pathogens.
Immunization against the pathogens that cause diarrheal disease is a viable prevention strategy, however it does require targeting certain pathogens for vaccination. Similarly, a Cholera vaccine showed a strong reduction in morbidity and mortality, though the overall impact of vaccination was minimal as Cholera is not one of the major causative pathogens of diarrheal disease.
A rotavirus vaccine decrease the rates of diarrhea in a population. Dietary deficiencies in developing countries can be combated by promoting better eating practices. Zinc supplementation proved successful showing a significant decrease in the incidence of diarrheal disease compared to a control group.
Breastfeeding practices have been shown to have a dramatic effect on the incidence of diarrheal disease in poor populations. Studies across a number of developing nations have shown that those who receive exclusive breastfeeding during their first 6 months of life are better protected against infection with diarrheal diseases.
Probiotics decrease the risk of diarrhea in those taking antibiotics. In many cases of diarrhea, replacing lost fluid and salts is the only treatment needed. This is usually by mouth — oral rehydration therapy — or, in severe cases, intravenously. Medications such as loperamide Imodium and bismuth subsalicylate may be beneficial; however they may be contraindicated in certain situations. Oral rehydration solution ORS a slightly sweetened and salty water can be used to prevent dehydration.
Standard home solutions such as salted rice water, salted yogurt drinks, vegetable and chicken soups with salt can be given. Home solutions such as water in which cereal has been cooked, unsalted soup, green coconut water, weak tea unsweetened , and unsweetened fresh fruit juices can have from half a teaspoon to full teaspoon of salt from one-and-a-half to three grams added per liter. Clean plain water can also be one of several fluids given.
A WHO publication for physicians recommends a homemade ORS consisting of one liter water with one teaspoon salt 3 grams and two tablespoons sugar 18 grams added  approximately the "taste of tears" .
Rehydration Project recommends adding the same amount of sugar but only one-half a teaspoon of salt, stating that this more dilute approach is less risky with very little loss of effectiveness. Appropriate amounts of supplemental zinc and potassium should be added if available.
But the availability of these should not delay rehydration. As WHO points out, the most important thing is to begin preventing dehydration as early as possible. Vomiting often occurs during the first hour or two of treatment with ORS, especially if a child drinks the solution too quickly, but this seldom prevents successful rehydration since most of the fluid is still absorbed.
WHO recommends that if a child vomits, to wait five or ten minutes and then start to give the solution again more slowly. Drinks especially high in simple sugars, such as soft drinks and fruit juices, are not recommended in children under 5 years of age as they may increase dehydration. A too rich solution in the gut draws water from the rest of the body, just as if the person were to drink sea water.
WHO recommends a child with diarrhea continue to be fed. Continued feeding speeds the recovery of normal intestinal function.
In contrast, children whose food is restricted have diarrhea of longer duration and recover intestinal function more slowly. A child should also continue to be breastfed. Breastfeeding should always be continued.