Top 4 Possible Causes of Unexplained or Unintentional Weight Loss

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You may be aware of the harmful consequences of weight gain, and many blogs, articles and videos available online focus on helpful ways to shed extra pounds. However, losing weight without trying or unexplained weight loss is also an important topic to be aware of. Weight loss might sound like a dream come true, but unexplained weight loss can be a cause for concern. It could be a signal of severe health conditions, including diabetes or cancer. In this blog, learn about the possible causes of unexplained or unintended weight loss and when to seek medical attention.

What Exactly Is Unexplained Or Unintentional Weight Loss?

Unexplained or unexplained weight loss is when an individual lose weight without altering your diet or exercise regime. And, as already covered above, it could be a sign of a serious condition or disease. While anyone can experience involuntary weight loss, it is most serious and common in individuals aged 65 or older.  That’s why shedding more than five per cent of the normal body weight within six to twelve months without trying should be investigated by the healthcare professional.

Possible Causes Of Sudden, Unexplained Weight Loss

As mentioned above, sudden, unexplained weight loss can be caused by several conditions that range from moderate to severe. Here are some of the common causes of unexpected weight loss:

1. Stress And / Or Depression

Yes, you read that right! Sudden, unexpected weight loss can occur because of poor mental health.  Depression and stress are common mood disorders that affects your daily life for weeks or longer. If a person is living with too much stress, grief, or anxiety, the result is often, high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) which leads to health problems such as elevated blood pressure, depressed immune system and increased abdominal fat.  Depression and stress often lead to emotional eating which in turn causes weight gain, but losing weight is more common.

2. Diabetes

Although weight gain is one of the common risk factors associated with diabetes, the reality is that unexpected weight loss is one of the prominent symptoms associated with diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use sugar or glucose for energy. However, diabetes sufferers either cannot make insulin or cannot use it the way they need to. When the body cells run out of energy, the body thinks it is starving and starts burning the muscle and fat for creating energy, resulting in weight loss.  Some of the common symptoms associated with diabetes include vision changes, itchy skin, dehydration, fatigue, excessive thirst, frequent urination etc. Book an appointment with your health specialist if you notice any or all of these symptoms. If you are a diabetic, the professionals can help figure out a treatment plan that works best for you.

3. Sudden Muscle Loss

Also known as muscle wasting or muscle atrophy, muscle loss can also lead to unexpected weight loss. One of the major symptoms is muscle weakness. Commonly this condition can be seen in individuals who have a sedentary lifestyle, with desk jobs and little to no exercise.   Proper nutrition and regular physical activity usually reverse muscle loss. Some common causes of the same include nerve damage, osteoporosis, stroke, arthritis, ageing, stroke, injuries in the bones, etc.

4. Cancer

Although symptoms of cancer tend to vary depending on the stage, location, type and severity of the disease, unexpected weight loss can sometimes be a warning sign of cancer. Yes, you read it right! It is perfectly normal for your body weight to fluctuate on a daily basis. But losing 4 to 5 per cent of body weight within 6 to 8 months without altering exercise habits or diet can indicate various types of cancers, particularly the ones that have spread. Cancerous cells often utilize much of the body’s energy supply, which can result in a noticeable drop in the body’s weight.

Unexpected Weight Loss FAQs

Let’s Have a look on Some FAQS

1. What is the Best Treatment Option For Sudden Weight Loss?

The treatment for unexpected weight loss typically depends on the possible cause. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and may arrange some scans or tests. In case no underlying condition is identified, the health care provider may recommend a special diet.

2. How Common is Unintentional Weight Loss?

Unintentional weight is not particularly common, though, it is most common in elderly people. Still, unexpected or unexplained weight loss affects thousands of individuals per year and should not be ignored.  It might indicate a severe health condition.

3. How Much Unexpected Weight Loss is Bad For Health?

Our body weight can fluctuate on a regular basis but the constant and unexplained loss of more than five per cent of the total body weight within a period of one year is often a cause for concern. 

The Bottom Line

Now that you are aware of some of the most common possibilities behind your unexplained weight loss, be sure to go for relevant health check-ups from time to time.

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