How Illness Can Affect Eating Habits

Have you been faced with an illness that affects how you eat, your appetite or how you digest food? If so, it can be a struggle to maintain a healthy diet and get better overall. Whether you have an illness that is gastrointestinal-based or it affects your digestive system, finding a healthy solution is important.

Here are a few diseases or conditions that may impact your ability to eat as well as your appetite, and how you can get help to improve your lifestyle.

It's a diagnosis that no one wants to hear, yet roughly one-third of the population will be told they have cancer at some point in their lives. Any type of cancer is serious, but the more serious the cancer, the more challenging it can be treat. For some people, their eating habits and appetite is directly affected by cancer and the treatment for cancer. Cancers of the throat and gastrointestinal tract can make it painful to eat and in some cases impossible to swallow certain foods. Until the tumor is removed, some solid foods may need to be avoided. For certain diseases or cancers of the mouth or throat, you may have trouble swallowing. This condition is often referred to as dysphagia. Proper treatment may include certain foods or thickener agents, like that are easier to swallow, but that safely expand in your stomach and provide nutritional support. If you're receiving chemotherapy, it can lead to nausea. This can cause a loss of appetite and eventually weight loss. Some chemotherapy drugs also make you sensitive to hot or cold foods, this can make eating some foods you love non-enjoyable. Talk to your doctor about getting on the right nutrition plan along with anti-nausea drugs, to help boost your appetite and help you maintain the strength you need to get through your cancer treatment.

Eating Disorders
Do you suspect that you may have an eating disorder? If so, you should seek medical treatment right away for an affirmative diagnosis. Eating disorders can affect anyone but often become more evident after a life-altering event or through an extreme diet program or bullying. There are many factors and often not just one single factor that goes into play when someone develops an eating disorder. Two of the most common are anorexia and bulimia. Both directly affect how you eat, what you eat and how you process your food. With anorexia, you likely restrict calories to lose weight or try to maintain a specific weight. Bulimia involves eating more calories than recommended and then purging with vomiting or diarrhea. Both can trigger life-threatening symptoms that require a medical intervention. Treatment not only involves replenishing lost electrolytes and fluids, but also the psychological aspect that may be driving the negative or irrational thoughts. Therefore treatment is often multifaceted in order to treat the underlying issues contributing to the eating disorder.

Another disease that can affect your eating habits is depression. affects at least 16 million people each year in the There are also millions who haven't been diagnosed or go undiagnosed. It's a serious illness that can significantly affect your lifestyle and your nutritional intake. It can cause you to overeat or it can lead to lack of eating.

Untreated clinical depression can be worsened by underlying disorders and be a contributor to other problems such as eating disorders, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Being depressed can make it difficult to concentrate, leave you feeling isolated and make it harder to eat a healthy diet sometimes. Making sure that you get your depression managed properly with psychological maintenance is the first step in everything else falling into place, including having a good appetite and eating healthy.

Food Allergies
Have you been experiencing some troubling symptoms that can be explained, especially after eating certain foods? You may be experiencing a food allergy or be sensitive to a specific ingredient in a meal. Some common signs of a food allergy include:
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Swollen throat or skin
  • Upset stomach or vomiting
  • Gas or uncomfortable pain in the stomach
  • Stomach cramping
  • Itching
If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help right away. A food allergy can make it difficult to eat and the long-term effects can leave your gastrointestinal system sensitive to any type of food. In severe cases, consistent diarrhea, vomiting and significant inflammation of the colon can occur. A proper diagnosis is the first step in pinpointing the trigger and getting the proper treatment for the allergy.

There are many medical problems that can trigger nutritional deficiencies and inconsistencies in your diet. The first step is recognizing the concern and then getting the proper medical attention.

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