Unexplained Weight Loss

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Overview

Weight loss that is unexplained happens when a person is not actively striving to reduce weight. Unexplained weight loss is the weight reduction of more than ten pounds, during a six- to twelve-month period. It might be an indication of a more severe sickness or problem in certain cases. As a result, if you lose a lot of weight quickly, you should seek medical help.

It may happen to anybody at any time. Persons above the age of 65, on the other hand, are at the highest risk of developing it and to suffer the most catastrophic consequences. Even a little weight loss of less than 5% of one’s total weight, or 10 pounds, may signal the beginning of a major medical condition in the elderly.

While quick, considerable weight loss may be caused by a stressful event, it might also be a symptom of a more severe illness, such as diabetes. Considerable weight loss is also frequent after the stress of traumatic events.

Causes

Some of the causative factors linked with unexplained weight loss are:

Muscle loss: Muscle wasting, might cause weight loss that is not intended. Muscle weakness is the most noticeable sign. You will lose weight if you lose muscle mass. If your muscles have been dormant for a long period, this might happen. People who do not exercise, sit at a desk all day, or are bedridden are more likely to get this disease. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet can help to reverse muscle loss in the majority of cases. Some other causes of muscle loss include aging, burns, stroke, injuries, and osteoporosis and nerve damage.

Hyperthyroidism:Overactive thyroid occurs when the thyroid gland generates an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Hormones have a role in a number of biological processes, including metabolism. Calories are burned fast when the thyroid is hyperactive, regardless of appetite. Unintentional weight loss may happen as a consequence. The conditions that are associated with overactive thyroid include thyroiditis, iodine consumption and Grave’s disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis: It is characterized by increasing joint inflammation. The immune system attacks the joint membrane in RA, which is an autoimmune disease. Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase metabolic rate and cause rapid weight loss.

Diabetes: Another issue that leads to undesired weight loss is type 1 diabetes. Without insulin, the body will be unable to use glucose for energy. As a consequence, blood glucose levels are raised. The urine flushes out any residual glucose. Sugar and calories leave the body concurrently leading to unintentional weight loss.

Depression: Weight loss may be a side effect of depression, which is described as feeling down, lost, or empty for at least two weeks. Depression affects the same areas of the brain that control hunger. This might lead to a decrease in or loss of appetite and, ultimately, extreme weight loss.

Inflammatory bowel disease: Weight loss that is not anticipated might be an indication of IBD which is a chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal illness that affects the gut. It causes catabolic circumstances, which means the body is continually utilizing energy. Ghrelin i.e. the hunger hormone and leptin which is the fat-burning hormone are also affected by IBD. This has the effect of suppressing hunger and causing weight reduction.

COPD: It is a progressive lung condition that affects the airways that convey air to and from the lungs. This leads to the creation of mucus, coughing, and difficulty breathing. It may induce weight loss, especially in its latter stages. Breathing with effort burns a significant amount of calories.

Tuberculosis: TB, a dangerous bacterial condition that commonly affects the lungs and is notoriously difficult to diagnose, is another possible cause of unexplained weight loss.

Cancer: One of the early indicators of cancer is an unexpected weight loss of 10 pounds or more that cannot be explained by any other source. Inflammation is exacerbated by cancer. This causes muscular atrophy as well as a disruption in hunger-controlling hormones.

When to see a doctor

It is natural for the body weight to vary from time to time. Something else might be going on if you are losing weight without making any lifestyle changes. You should consult a doctor if you lose 5% of your body weight in six to twelve months. The findings of a physical examination and review of a patient’s medical history may assist a physician in determining the underlying cause of unexplained weight loss. Additionally, a doctor may prescribe blood tests such as hormone panels or imaging studies to rule out specific medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer.