Fasting Periods in Older Patients Attending a South London Emergency Department
- Annabel J. McDonald
- Journal of nutrition in gerontology and…
Acute illness induces major physiological responses, which favor the adaptation of the organism to stress and injury. The metabolic response plays key roles in maintenance of vital functions and promotion of the healing mechanisms. All the components of energy expenditure are modified, particularly the resting metabolism. The regulation of carbohydrate metabolism is also markedly altered. Such patients are characterized by fasting and postprandial hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and by a stimulation of the hepatic glucose production in fasted and fed states. Lipolysis and increased fat oxidation are typically observed. Ketogenesis processes are inhibited, concurring to alter the adaptation to starvation. Protein turnover is stimulated with a preponderance of the catabolic processes, even during full nutritional support. This induces a state of resistance to feeding, leading to a progressive depletion of the fat free mass. Such progressive tissue catabolism cannot be reversed by hypercaloric nutrition or growth factors. Specific nutrients (aminoacids, micronutrients, PUFA) may offer interesting perspectives in stimulating immunity, improving the antioxidant balance or modulating the inflammatory response.