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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19453
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My brother has a problem with eating. He is just living on

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My brother has a problem with eating. He is just living on e-sures and hardly any food.
His doctor tells me he cannot help if he will not eat and I really do need some help.
I think that he is anorexic and it looks to me as if it could be the end stages. He is 74
Can anybody tell me where to go with this please.
Regards Lee
It will help if you cold provide some further information:
Are you saying that he simply chooses not to eat? If so, what does he give as the reason for not eating?
Or does he not eat because he is having symptoms? If so, what symptoms is he having?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is taking 2 ensure a day but has always been a small eater and when asked yesterday how he feels he said he feels that his stomach has shrunk.

A factor may be that while in hospital a couple of years ago (following a fall) a nurse commented that he was always eating (he was eating a square of chocolate) and he'd get fat, this was a throw away remark but he did seem to take that on board.

We have done everything to try to get him to eat, just now he is suffering from severe diarrhoea and we are worried this may be the final straw that breaks the camels back!


Has he had any evaluation of his stomach or the diarrhoea?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


OK. There are several issues to consider in this situation.

First, though, to clarify some terms. The term, anorexia, refers to a lack of appetite and oral intake for any reason, and it can be due to a variety of underlying medical or psychologic conditions. There is a specific type of anorexia that is a psychologic condition that is sometimes referred to as anorexia, but the more proper term is anorexia nervosa. When you say that you "think he is anorexic", it will be true if he is not eating, but it does not indicate any particular reason for the anorexia.

If he is not eating because of a medical problem, such as feeling that the stomach is getting full too quickly, then the usual approach would be to pursue further evaluation to determine the cause of that sensation. If he is not eating because of a psychologic cause, such as a response to the comment made by the nurse previously, then the usual approach would be to pursue counselling to address the problem. Of course, it is possible that someone could have multiple factors contributing to the problem, so both approaches may be necessary.

While his doctor is correct that no doctor or hospital can force a person to eat, it is appropriate for a doctor to perform an evaluation to identify any underlying causes of the anorexia, assuming that the brother agrees to the evaluation. You can talk with your brother first and be certain that he is willing to pursue the evaluation, and then talk with his doctor to arrange the evaluation. It may be necessary to see a Gastroenterologist to receive a complete evaluation, but his GP can make an arrangement for that evaluation.

If you have any further questions or need clarification, please let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you I will now try and take this further with his GP


You're welcome. I hope that he gets better soon.

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