Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained Weight Loss

There could be minor changes in your body weight over time. However, if you’re losing weight without changing your habits, something else might be going on. If you experience a 5 percent weight loss in 6 to 12 months, you need to assess it.

Firstly weight loss could be after a life-changing or stressful event. However, unintentional weight loss may be a sign of one of these medical conditions.

Your body is made of fat, muscle, bone, and water. If you lose muscle, you’ll lose weight. This can happen if you don’t use muscles for a while, meaning you could not exercise, work desk jobs, or have been bedridden. Generally, exercise and proper nutrition will reverse muscle loss. If you have been sedentary following an injury, had recent onset joint pains (arthritis), had a nerve loss related event (a minor stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc) the weight loss could be a collateral damage due to a deficit elsewhere. If the arthritis could be an age related wear and tear injury, immune mediated arthritis could be associated with chronic inflammation may cause weight loss. Age may also wear down the heart and early failure may present as a weight loss. Being on immune suppressive medication for inflammatory disorders may suppress the body’s own adrenal hormones.

Hormonal causes could set in at any age. An overactive thyroid could be causing you to burn calories faster. Weight loss could be the first sign of new onset diabetes. The pandemic has made depression a more frequent diagnosis. Long standing asthmatics as well as smokers may have progressed to COPD, an airway disorder that makes breathing (and also eating) uncomfortable. Low grade fevers may lead us to infections like tuberculosis that could have taken root insidiously.

If nothing, weight loss could mean a cancer somewhere.

Similar insidious illnesses could occur in the gut, like “Inflammatory bowel disease” (Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). The immune mediated attack on the gut may not present as the usual diarrhoea, the inflammation may affect the satiety hormones and thus promote weight loss.

An astute doctor will go beyond his “system” to give you a ‘once over’, and lead you to recovery.