Question: My mom is 80 and is having a problem with her mouth. She can't eat things with pepper or spices and is losing weight. Could this be caused by a vitamin deficiency or thyroid problems?
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Spice sensitivity is common, and may be associated with inflamed tissues in the mouth due to infection or oral lesions caused by vitamin B or vitamin C deficiency.
Weight loss in the elderly is always concerning, and this always raises red flags for me. Diet is the most common cause of weight loss, but vitamin deficiency alone is not what causes it. Thyroid problems won’t produce weight loss. Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) will increase appetite.
Fatigue and weight loss at age 80 may be from poor nutrition, depression, malignancy, and almost any medical disorder, especially diabetes, TB, heart disease, kidney failure, or infection. She is overdue to see her doctor for an evaluation.
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