Hyporexia: Definition, Causes, Consequences, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is the meaning of Hyporexia?

It is the loss of appetite in older adults and children.

Appetite is associated with the need for food, and this desire becomes a feeling of hunger. When this need does not occur in these age groups, we are in the presence of disease.

Causes of hyporexia

The causes of hyporexia in children and the elderly are usually different.

In the kids:

  • The intake of many bottles in children over one year and large amounts of candy or small quantities of food in the time intervals between meals.
  • Presence of acute and chronic digestive system diseases such as gastritis, gastroenteritis, peptic ulcers, hepatitis, and others.
  • Existence of acute and chronic infectious diseases such as viral infections, bacterial infections with fever, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, and canker sores.
  • Infestation with parasites.
  • Deficiency of iron and zinc.
  • Abnormalities of metabolic type, hereditary diseases, laziness to chew.
  • Respiratory diseases that produce respiratory failure.
  • I have a disease associated with the cardiovascular system, with cardiac muscle depletion.
  • Chronic intoxication due to excessive intake of drugs, kidney failure, an overdose of vitamin D in babies, contributions of toxic substances in the case of metabolic diseases, and radiotherapy.
  • Endocrine disorders as changes in the activity of the endocrine glands.
  • Reasons associated with the child’s family environment cause the child not to want to eat.

In the case of older adults:

  • Hyporexia can be caused by psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety.
  • It may be social due to isolation or distance from the environment where they have remained.

And it can also be the manifestation of a symptom of a disease such as:

  • Presence of benign tumor lesions in the liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and digestive tract.
  • Presence of cancerous tumors in the liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and digestive tract.
  • Inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract include stomatitis, inflammatory bowel diseases ( ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease ), oesophagitis reflux, duodenitis, gastritis, infectious anorectal inflammation, gastric and duodenal ulcers, intestinal parasites, esophagitis by reflux, duodenitis, and gastritis.

Consequences of hyporexia

One of the most severe consequences of this pathology is malnutrition.

For both age groups, hyporexia triggers a loss of weight and a decrease in the ability of the immune system to attack the organisms and substances that invade our bodies, making them more prone to contracting diseases.

In the case of children, this situation delays the child’s average growth and the development of his intellectual capacity.


The loss of appetite requires urgent treatment and to rule out the presence of any other disease. Differential diagnoses must be made, such as complete hematology, general urinalysis, and ultrasound of internal organs.

The treatment and control of an underlying disease lead to the restoration of appetite.

Treatment of hyporexia

The treatment should be aimed at consuming foods with high nutritional content.

Control calorie intake

They should be distributed in 5 or 6 meals with little volume, but including very nutritious foods in the diet.

By making this number of meals, it is avoided that they get out very quickly and arrive at the next meal with more appetite.

Foods that are easy to eat and at adequate temperatures

The food served should not be too hot and easy to chew.

To achieve a higher protein intake, ground or chopped meats can be straightforward to eat.

Motivate the appetite

It is essential to present foods with a good presentation so that the food looks appetizing, and nutrition should be included in the taste and appetite of the affected.

Eat at any time

You should not have strict hours for food, and you can administer food at the time you want, even if you leave the regular schedule or set for meals.

Energy and nutritious foods

To cope with the disease and avoid malnutrition, all foods must provide nutrients and energy.

It is advisable to add whole milk, protein broths, and eggs, increasing the energy value without increasing the quantities of the rations.

For all this, it is of great importance that the presentation of the dishes is attractive and includes the most significant amount of nutrients to achieve the recovery of appetite and prevent the health of the individual affected.