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Body weight in patients with Parkinson's disease



There is some evidence suggesting that Parkinson's disease (PD) patients exhibit lower body weight when compared to age-matched healthy subjects. Low body mass index (BMI) is correlated with low bone mineral density, both of which are major risk factors for hip fractures. Possible determinants of weight loss in PD patients include hyposmia, impaired hand–mouth coordination, difficulty chewing, dysphagia, intestinal hypomotility, depression, decreased reward processing of dopaminergic mesolimbic regions, nausea, and anorexia as the side effects of medication, and increased energy requirements due to muscular rigidity and involuntary movements. It is unclear whether PD patients in general, or only a subgroup of those affected, definitely show lower BMI in the advanced stages of the disease. We therefore recommend that the body weight of PD patients be monitored monthly as the disease progresses, and that a patient's nutrition should be supplemented with sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium to reduce the risk of hip fractures and strengthen bone density. Because mealtimes may coincide with unpredictable off periods associated with akinesia and impaired hand–mouth coordination, PD patients also need flexible food schedules that accommodate the associated symptoms of this disease. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society