What can cause unintended weight loss?

What can cause unintended weight loss?

What can cause unintended weight loss?

Weight loss should be a cause for concern when it occurs unintentionally, without the person realizing that they are losing weight.  It may be normal to lose weight after going through a stressful situation like changing jobs, going through a divorce, or losing a loved one.

 However, if weight loss is not related to any of these factors, and is not associated with changes in diet or increased physical activity, you should see a doctor to evaluate the cause of the problem, because  It could be due to a disease, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, or cancer.

Possible causes

 When weight loss occurs involuntarily, it could be due to various situations such as: the presence of ulcers or an inflammatory bowel disease;  neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease;  thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism;  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease such as emphysema;  infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS;  psychological problems or disorders such as depression, anorexia or bulimia, for example.

Keys to maintaining a healthy heart

 In addition to this, other illnesses such as diabetes, depression, cancer, or the abuse of alcoholic beverages or drugs, could also cause weight loss for no apparent reason.  However, it could also have specific causes depending on the age of the individual or specific phases of life such as:

 1. In older people

 Weight loss during aging is considered normal when it is slow, related to poor appetite, taste disturbances or due to the side effect of some medications.  Another common reason is senile dementia, which causes a person to forget to prepare meals and eat properly.


In addition to weight loss, it is also normal for muscle and bone loss to occur, putting the person at greater risk of fractures.

 2. In pregnancy

 Weight loss in pregnancy is not a normal situation, but it can occur when the pregnant woman suffers from a lot of dizziness and vomiting at the beginning of pregnancy, so she cannot maintain an adequate diet.

 In these cases, it is essential to consult both the doctor and a nutritionist to know what to do and avoid serious complications that may harm the growth of the fetus, since a healthy pregnant woman with normal weight is expected to gain between 10 to 15 kg during  the entire pregnancy.

 3. In the baby

 Weight loss is common in newborn babies, who usually lose up to 10% of body weight during the first 15 days of life, due to the expulsion of fluids through urine and feces.

 From this period on, the baby is expected to gain around 250 g per week until 6 months of age, and will always increase in weight and height as age advances.

 How the diagnosis is made

 It is important to know what the cause of the weight loss is, so that the doctor can indicate the most appropriate treatment, thus preventing complications.Therefore, to diagnose the cause of the weight loss, the doctor must evaluate the symptoms present and request  Tests as suspected, such as blood, urine, and stool tests;  as well as imaging tests such as an MRI or X-ray, for example, continuing with the investigation according to the results obtained.

 Generally, the general practitioner or family doctor are the first professionals to be consulted and, only after the results of the exams, will they be able to refer the person to the most appropriate specialist, such as an endocrinologist, oncologist, psychiatrist or nutritionist, for example.

When to worry

 Losing weight is worrisome when the patient loses, for no apparent reason, more than 5% of body weight in a period of 1 to 3 months.  In people weighing 70 kg, for example, weight loss is worrying when it is greater than 3.5 kg, and in a person weighing 50 kg when it loses more than 2.5 kg unexpectedly.

 In addition to this, you should also be aware of the presence of other signs such as tiredness, loss of appetite, changes in the rhythm of the intestine and an increase in the frequency of infections, such as the flu, for example.

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