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loss of appetite with cirrhosis
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I would so appreciate any advice anyone could give me in regards to what I can get my dad to eat. He has lost probably 60 pounds since January and was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis on February 9th. I have read that it is possible for him to gradually add some more weight. He currently has home heath coming periodically throughout the week and they are encouraging him to get up and walk as much as possible and do what he can. He has gotten so weak that walking has become difficult but he is doing it with the aid of a walker. I guess nothing tastes good to him and he is not very found of the Ensure or Boost drinks although my mom is really trying to push those. What have you all done in this case? The more specific the better. Any suggestions on anything would be so appreciated I can't even begin to tell you. I just feel as though if he got some food in his body he would feel better. And that's what I want for him right now to just feel as good as he possibly can at this point. I have so many more questions and concerns about so many other aspects of cirrhosis but I wanted to get as much information gathered about food as I can because I really feel this is critical at this point. Thanking you all in advance for your much needed information!
Posted on 03/13/12, 06:25 pm
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Reply #1 - 03/13/12  9:28pm
" Dear daughter - there is much evidence to support cirrhosis, alcoholic cirrhosis in particular - as largely a disease of malnutrition. Your Dad MUST force himself to eat if he wants to get stronger and better - and he CAN do so. Lots of testimonies of improvement....please also join the following terrific, supportive group - and read this article: "
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Reply #2 - 03/13/12  10:04pm
" Smoothies? Maybe you can add some protein powder to them. I know that Jamba Juice is making some frozen smoothies that you can buy from the grocery store now.

Definitely keep the protein up. Eggs-any way he likes them, Greek yogurt, nuts, lots of fresh fruit and veggies. Maybe you can juice some so he gets as much nutrients as you can.

Has he tried all the variations of ensure/boost? They have a pretty big selection. "
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Reply #3 - 03/15/12  4:59pm
" The smoothies are a great idea. I have Hep C and cirrhosis. Make sure he stays aware from high iron foods, especially red meat. "
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Reply #4 - 03/15/12  10:08pm
" I have the same problem with my mom, she is totally apathetic and really refuses to make herself eat anything, typically i can get her to drink 1-2 boost shakes and a yogurt per day and not much else...oh she will eat the hell out of donuts, ice cream and cake...if i let her. She will eat popcorn...but that is out now since she wants salt and is on low salt now. Tonight she ate a few bites of chicken, but refused the broccoli and rice.

She would scarf down hot dogs if I let her, which i do sometimes cause she has to eat something...she will eat fruit sometimes, but it is hit or miss...good luck, it is really hard. "
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Reply #5 - 03/16/12  6:09pm
" Finding the right food to eat with this disease has been difficult for me as well. Only problem is, now that I am taking Lactulose for the HE, and have added small amount of lean red meat per week (doctor's directive) I have gained a huge amount of weight that I cannot lose. Doctor is not worried about the weight gain but I am not happy with it since I have taken great strides all my life to control my weight. I guess the best advice I could give is to make sure her nutrition requirements are met and then let her eat some of what she likes such as the hot dogs. Beware of the sodium and let her know that by eating too much sodium she will cause herself a whole different crop of problems such as ascites and edema. Hugs and prayers to you both and I am so blessed to know that there are "kids" out there who value their parents enough to stick with them through tough illnesses. CarolLentz "
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Reply #6 - 03/16/12  6:18pm
" To add on to what Carrol has said, look for low sodium versions of things he likes to eat. I know they make low sodium bacon now because I buy it myself. There is low sodium breads, and meats. They even have a few low sodium soups. Soup seems to be the worst for high sodium.

Vitamins are necessary for him. Please make sure he is taking a multi-vitamin, B-complex, magnesium. "
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Reply #7 - 03/17/12  9:29am
" Does anyone know exactly what causes this low appetite that so many struggle with? Is it typically due to liver enlargement that presses against - and thus diminshes the size of - the stomach? Or is hormonal? Or both? or something else? "
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Reply #8 - 03/17/12  5:15pm
" One reason could be that, when the liver stops functioning it destroys the enzymes to digest food so you have a feeling of nausea when you try to eat. Eating small portions more often is a good idea so you don't overload your system nor fill up your stomach to the uncomfortable point. It takes a lot less food to reach that "Thanksgiving Day big belly syndrome) since the liver is perhaps swollen as well as the spleen. In my case, the spleen is apparently huge. You know how we all feel (even those who do not have health issues) when we eat a huge at Thanksgiving or holiday. That is what it feels like after eating a small protion now. Also, the nutrition shakes are good to bring up the caloric count but they are liquid and will make you have a "full" feeling sooner than eating say a small portion of lentils or small piece of chicken. So, best to offer what she likes and offer it more often in small amounts. Also, eating too much sodium will cause another problem with fluid buildup (ascites). When your stomach is full of fluid, of course you are going to feel "too full to eat"........So important to watch the salt and the hidden salt in prepared foods. Blessings to you.......CarolLentz "
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Reply #9 - 03/18/12  8:15am
" Thanks Carol - you've been, as always, very helpful.
BTW I just happened to notice...tomorrow will be the one-year anniversary since you joined this group! "
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Reply #10 - 03/18/12  11:57am
" You are very observant because I didn't even think about it being one year. It seems impossible but, it was a year ago. Thanks to all who are a constant uplift for much knowledge and kindness of spirit. We could all use a little more of each. Hugs and prayers for a beautiful week to come........CarolLentz "

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