Posted by: boo | 2009/04/20

weight loss due to illness

Hi Doc,
I have a chronic illness which, when it flares up, causes me to lose weight really quickly. (I have crohns disease) I don' t weigh much to start with (usually maximum 44kg) but when I flare up the weight just drops and I start looking like a walking skeleton. People talk and comment about it, and it makes me feel terrible, as though they think I' m doing it on purpose, to get attention. The problem is, when I flare up, I can' t eat much at any one time, and often my appetite disappears. Also, I can' t afford to buy the food and supplements which would help me. I' m so worried that the weight loss will weaken me to the point where I don' t have any more physical strength, and can' t hold down a job anymore (this has happened before). Is there any kind of " miracle food"  that would help me in this case?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Boo
I feel for you because Crohn's disease is really difficult to handle and these flare-ups can make you so ill and debilitated. I would strongly urge you to put aside a bit of money to see a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area) for at least one consultation so that she/he can help you with a survival plan for those flare-ups. You should in any case be under the care of a dietitian and if you can't afford it, then ask your physician to organise that you can attend a diet clinic as an outpatient if you live near a large government hospital. You may have to sit and wait for hours for your consultation, but it should cost very little and the dietitian may be able to recommend liquid meal supplements that you can obtain through the hospital.
Holding thumbs for you
Best regards

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