Factors Influencing Food Intake in Patients With Heart Failure: A Comparison With Healthy Elders


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Abstract

Background and research objective:Promoting adequate nutritional intake of patients with heart failure (HF) is an essential component of comprehensive management. This goal can be hampered by decreased appetite, as well as psychological, social, and HF-related factors that can affect food intake. Factors related to aging may also affect food intake in older patients. The purpose of this study was to compare patients with HF to healthy elders regarding the extent to which they perceived how appetite and hunger, emotional and social, and illness factors affected the amount of food they ate in the previous week.Subjects and methods:Sixty-seven patients with HF were recruited from 3 Midwestern HF clinics. As part of a larger study examining nutrition in HF, patients filled out the Food Eating Experiences and Diet (FEED) questionnaire, an instrument designed to assess factors affecting appetite and hunger. Patients were asked to rate their hunger and appetite on a visual analog scale. On Likert-type scales, they rated the extent to which appetite/hunger, emotional/social, and illness factors affected the amount of food intake. Sixty-eight healthy elders were recruited from 2 Midwestern senior citizen centers. As part of a study collecting a large data set for comparison with HF patients, healthy elders provided demographic and health information and filled out the FEED questionnaire.Results and conclusions:Factors rated as affecting food intake most often by patients with HF were decreased hunger sensations, diet restrictions, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, anxiety, and sadness. Factors rated most often by healthy elders as affecting food intake were diminished hunger sensations, early satiety, eating alone, and decreased senses of taste and smell. Among patients with HF, many factors unique from those present due to age were reported to affect food intake.

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