Dramatic Weight Loss in a Patient With Parkinson Disease

Heidi Moawad, MD


July 25, 2019

Although Parkinson disease can cause weight loss, this patient's rapid weight loss is concerning. Abdominal CT may help identify primary or metastatic cancer or another abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract, liver, or kidneys.

The patient does not appear to have neurologic changes; thus, brain MRI is unlikely to provide information about his condition. He also does not appear to have any symptoms that would correspond with myopathy or neuropathy, which could be detected by electromyography. No symptoms are inherently suggestive of cardiac dysfunction; thus, ECG would not be helpful in evaluating his weight loss.

Because of concern about cancer, a gastrointestinal disorder, or a metabolic illness, abdominal CT was performed. The test results were normal. The patient also underwent a rectal examination to test for occult blood, a complete blood cell count, liver function testing, and chest CT. All findings were normal.

After ruling out other possible etiologies of rapid weight loss, the patient's Parkinson disease is deemed to be the cause of his weight loss. Such weight loss is described in approximately 48% of patients who have Parkinson disease.[1]


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