Unintentional Weight Loss : Symptoms and Causes Explained

Weight loss without trying can be a concern. It might mean that you have an underlying condition. Talk to your doctor if you lose more than 5% of your weight in 6-12 months or if you have any other symptoms. Not all weight loss is serious – it may happen after a life-changing event or stressful time. But unintentional weight loss may be a sign of an underlying medical condition and should be discussed with your doctor.

Unintentional Weight Loss

Most people know that weight gain is dangerous. Articles show ways to lose weight. But if you are losing weight without trying, it can be a problem and can also mean you have an illness or something else. Some reasons for this are changes in the seasons or when life gets difficult, like moving home or starting a new job.

However, if someone loses a lot of weight and cannot find why they lost it, they should see a doctor. This is because losing weight can be caused by many things.

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People may lose their appetite if they feel depressed, have cancer, or any chronic disease. For example, people who have AIDS or COPD may not want to eat much. Sometimes people will only lose their appetite if they are on drugs. Cocaine and amphetamines are some drugs that can make a person stop wanting to eat.

People who are stressed or anxious may also stop eating because they do not feel like it is worth it when there is so much going on in their lives. Chronic diseases such as diarrhea and stomachache can also cause someone to eat less food than usual because it decreases the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs from what they consume.

When the thyroid produces too many hormones, it can lead to a condition called hyperthyroidism. If you have this condition, you may find that your body burns more energy than usual and may not be able to keep or gain weight easily.

According to a study, people who have depression may be having problems with the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. This might affect their stomach. It also might affect the hormone cortisol that helps regulate blood pressure, blood sugar level, and metabolism.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to two inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions with immune system dysfunction: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, only affects the large intestine.

Unintentional Weight Loss: Men vs. Women

Anyone can have unexplained weight loss. However, women are more likely to have certain conditions that cause this symptom than men. According to a study, when women are 25-29 or over age 35, they have a higher risk of Crohn’s Disease. After 45 years old, men have a substantially higher risk of ulcerative colitis than women. Women are also much more likely to develop hyperthyroidism and RA than men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that between 2013 and 2016, twice as many women than men were depressed. But the American Cancer Society reports that men are at higher risk for stomach cancer than women. Men are also at higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer compared to women.

When to See a Doctor

A person should contact a doctor if they lose more than 5% of their body weight during the next 6-12 months without changing their diet or exercise routine. Doctors will do a physical examination and review the person’s medical history to see an underlying cause like hypothyroidism, RA, or cancer. They can even give blood tests and use imaging studies to help find out what is wrong. With the help of apps, you can also track your loss of weight. That will help you to decide whether you are having a sudden loss of weight or it’s just natural.

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About Michelle

Michelle is the senior most expert who writes for this website. After completing her graduation and 10+ years of practice, Michelle has been involved and known for a lot of her philanthropy work. Michelle loves spending time researching and writing her papers. She occasionally writes for us and we are extremely proud to have her as one of our editors. Follow me on Linkedin