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post stroke weight loss due to loss of taste
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woburnite posted:
my husband is 60 years old and suffered a stroke on 10-22-10. It was in the cerrebellum. He had a hemmorage and had surgery . He has been home for one month now and since the stroke has lost a total of 40 lbs. He used to enjoy every type of food before the stroke but now his sense of taste has changed so dramatically that nothing tastes right to him. It is very frustrating for both of us. Even a trip to the grocery store makes him feel queasy. He had an appointment with the physiatrist last week and was told he had never heard of a patient with this problem. He has an appointment with the neurologist next week..I pray he has a solution.I would greatly appreciate hearing from someone who has had this problem after a stroke.Other than using a walker because of his balance problem and a memory problem he is doing pretty good. We need help..I can't stand to see him lose any more weight. This problem is making him miserable.
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Miselaineous responded:
I did not lose my sense of taste but was VERY careful of what I ate in hopes I didn't have a second stroke. I lost 50 pounds then felt comfirtable and began eating again.
 
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Hopefulinva responded:
Good evening I was just doing searches on strokes and not eating. My mother who is 62 suffered a severe stroke on 12/1/10 and we have been going through the same problem with her. She is still in rehab as she cannot speak or walk but is swallowing okay. She just does not want to eat anything that we put in front of her...even her favorite foods. Since your last post, have you gained any insight from speaking with the neurologist? I struggle watching her melt away and want to avoid the feeding tubes.
 
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woburnite replied to Hopefulinva's response:
Please go to stroke.org.uk and click on factsheet 39..my son found this info for us so we finally had a name and very helpful information about it..the neurologist wasn't much help..the neurosurgeon did say he had heard of patients with it and sometimes your total taste comes back..sometimes it doesn't. We also told the primary care phys. about it and even though my husband has an appetite he prescribed a low dose of an anti-depressant which would also increase appetite. He was a bit depressed for about a month after he got home so it helped with both issues. Within a week...it really made a difference....he still doesn't like the way all foods taste but he is definitely eating more and has a better outlook.All of his doctors think he should try to maintain the weight he is at now.I was way more worried about his weight than any of them. He was overweight before so now he is the right weight for his height. Among the foods that no longer taste right are breads and sweets. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise! He will be starting physical therapy next week so between exercise and eating a heart healthy diet hopefully his weight will stay as is..Please let us know about your mother's progress.Best wishes.
 
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donk713 responded:
Hello -
I know how frustrating this must be for you and wish there was a magic fix I can offer, but all I have is experience to relay. Althogh I didn't have a stroke, I lost my sense of smell and taste after a head injury 7 years ago. The 1st year was very difficult for me - I was a chef and finally had to leave that profession. I have worked on this problem and found a few helpers along the way: the focus of my eating has shifted to textures of food - for instance I cannot tolerate bananas anymore because they are too soft and squishy which is frankly gross when you don't taste. I admit looking for extremes in foods, for example - I can't taste but can sense the difference in very strong coffee vs "regular" coffee; same is true with dark chocolate vs milk chocolate. Looking for these type of things has helped me get back on track with eating (although I won't say the 2 examples I gave are healthy choices).
It also helps to let family, friends know of the situation. Yes, it is only natural to talk about tastes when discussing foods, and yes it is engrained in us to say things like "what do you want for dinner", in these cases its an adjustment for everyone involved and sooner or later you can hopefully smile about it. The important thing is to keep your husband involved when it comes to simple things that were taken for granted before this happened. Even though I can't taste I still have preferences of what restaurant I'd like to go to or what "sounds good" for dinner. Maybe I am lucky in that I live with a social worker who helped me through this and wouldn't take "I don't care" for an answer because I found that I really do care.
My weight dropped the first year - partly because I didn't seem to care about eating, partly from depression and anger about losing taste, smell, and eventually my career. There were times I would refuse to eat just from spite, there were many times I hit the walls (thank goodness we own our house!) but my family always stayed strong and supported me during the difficult and not-so-difficult times. I saw a therapist on a regular basis which helped a lot, too.
My best advice is to help your husband explore different approaches to eating - think about textures, visual presentation, strong flavors, maybe liquid diet supplements would be helpful as well.
Most important is to take care of you and although it doesn't always help, remember that the anger he may direct towards you is really about the health problems and loss of independence he is experiencing. Take care of you as much as you take care of your husband!!!
 
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Ladywriter1968 responded:
I did reply other day but cant see my reply on here. My Mother died in 1985 of extreme hypertension and cerebrailvascular accident, said on her death cert, I was just 16 myself. She has a severe stroke when I was 10 and after that she wasnt the same person. A couple years later she lost half her body weight. But she was not helped at all and just left to get on with it really. My Dad was a truck driver which made it harder to. His job took him miles away which left me as a child with my sick Mother to deal with stuff if she got sick, I just kept knocking on neighbours doors when she would fall as could not always get hold of my Dad at work. My Dad carried on as if nothing was wrong and in denial. Even when Mum dropped down to 6stones. Her GP then was crap as well. My Mum also drank and smoked a lot. I think back in those days the support and help was not available or hard to find. So the doctors saying they have never heard of this problem to you, my Mother also lost losts of weight to. So maybe its more common then you think and the doctors should speed up basically and get with it. My Mum could walk find and get shopping as well. But she stopped eating after her fall in the street when she cut her chin open. I know how you feel as it was horrid seeing my Mum decline like this and no one was helping her either. Also watching this as a child as well.
 
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Lunalite responded:
I'm 64 and sufffered a stroke in October 2010. I came home in February and have lost my taste. I'm miserable since food is horrible now to me. When I mention this to the doctor they are surprised but no mention on how to fix. anything sweet taste like sugar. Eggs taste spoiled. Pasta with sauce taste like vinigar. If chicken is cooking and I can smell it but taste isn't right. In the morning I can smell the bleach in the water before I brush my teeth. Sometimes the smell is so bad I think about letting my teeth rot. I'm not suppose to eat vegetables due to medication for blood thinner. so the vegetables I can taste like spinach, broccolli, asparagus, cauliflower,garlic are very very limited. I am not a fish eater but I can taste fish. What I want is beef but it has no flavor for me. Butter I only feel the texture. there is no taste. My husband decided when I had my stroke that I quit smoking but almost a year later I still crave tabacco but no satisfaction because can't eat. I read on internet that loss of taste due to stroke is permanent but NO one tells me.
 
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Richard C Senelick, MD replied to Lunalite's response:
Loss of taste is always a difficullt issue, no matter what the cause. We do not have a specific medicine or good explanation. Here is a link to one of the best explanations and list of strategies you can try. I hope it helps. Good Luck
After your stroke you may be experiencing a new normal, but remember what George Eliot said- It is never too late to be what you might have been. You still can achieve new goals.
 
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itmatsb responded:
I don't have as bad a problem as you do, Lunalite, but eating is a terrible chore for me after having my stroke. When I got severely depressed with my chronic pain and lack of quality of life, one of my biggest complaints to my doctor was that EVERY day I had to get up and have to eat. (Fortunately an increase in an anti-depressant took away the severe depression.)

Any tartness in foods like strawberries make my whole face pucker up so bad that it aggravates my 24/7 migraines. The only thing I can tolerate is chocolate and sugary things. I have worried about my diet again and again with my doctor who says no I won't get diabetes, my glucose is fine. She tells me to eat anything to avoid losing any more weight after I went from being quite overweight before my stroke to a weight way below a normal body weight (BMI) which she told me was extremely unhealthy.

My stroke was 4 years ago and there hasn't been any improvement in my eating desire.

One of my medications that I take for fibromyalgia is Trazodone. It led to me eating a lot of sweets before my stroke. After my stroke, no longer worried about weight, I raised it from 100 to 150mg. So anyone might want to try that to at least gain some weight. Maybe in the future they might figure out a medication to correct our eating.
 
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itmatsb replied to itmatsb's response:
P.S. I do make a point of eating some good healthy food with protein every day, but it is a chore.


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Richard C. Senelick M.D. is a physician specializing in both neurology and the subspecialty of neurorehabilitation. He did his undergraduate and medic...More

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