A weight loss over a year can be considered normal, but when the pounds are lost and above all, it is an involuntary loss or motivated by a particular diet or a change in your lifestyle, then it is good to compare yourself with the doctor because it could be the symptom of pathology.
The weight loss can be a symptom of a health problem when it corresponds to a higher weight loss to 4.5 kg or 5% of body weight starting in a period of 6-12 months; and it must be said that any significant weight loss that occurs in the absence of a controlled diet must be monitored in any case. On the basis of an unexplained weight loss, there can, therefore, be several problems. Let’s see specifically what they can be.
Involuntary weight loss
- When to seek medical attention
Here are some of the main causes that may have triggered involuntary weight loss in you:
Some inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or other types of infections can significantly reduce appetite, causing a reduction in body weight. These ailments can also cause inflammation of the intestine, reducing its ability to absorb nutrients.
Prolonged intestinal problems
Celiac disease, peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease (such as rectal ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease ), pancreatitis, gastritis, diarrhea are the most common intestinal disorders that can lead to weight loss.
If depression can cause weight gain as a result of increased food intake, the same psychological condition can also cause it to drop. This generally happens in association with anhedonia, a pathological condition whereby, being depressed, you may no longer have pleasure in carrying out activities that normally are, such as sitting at the table and having a normal meal.
Anxiety and stress
As happens in the event of depression, even prolonged conditions of stress and anxiety, can lead to uncontrolled weight loss due mainly to the lack of appetite and the inability to find pleasure in carrying out normal activities such as sitting at the table and enjoying a meal. In other cases, the same conditions can lead to weight gain on the contrary.
Chronic infection such as HIV
Fever, swelling of the lymphatic glands, joint and muscle pain, skin manifestations and night sweats can be the first symptoms of the HIV virus, to which weight loss is added over time.
Bronco pneumo chronic obstructive patia (COPD)
Approximately 25% of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffer from severe or moderate weight loss. The greater the weight loss, the more serious the prognosis. The causes of this serious weight loss include: lack of appetite for reduced motor activity, increased energy demand for ventilation and difficulty feeding due to dyspnea (breathlessness).
Among the general signs that could reveal the onset of a tumor, the Airc also indicates the involuntary weight loss and underlines how in the case that weight loss is significant and cannot be explained by a change in one’s lifestyle, it is good consult your doctor to rule out that the origin is a disease, not necessarily a tumor.
Taking amphetamines can reduce appetite, so much so that they are often taken for this purpose. Amphetamines, in fact, emulate natural endogenous substances, going to act on the stimulation of hunger. From the same amphetamine family, sibutramine is a drug used to treat obesity and to increase aggression in sports. It inhibits appetite and facilitates weight loss but, due to the side effects it can cause, it has been removed from the market. Even cocaine, among the numerous short-term effects it implies, leads to loss of appetite, as well as an alteration of behavior tending to aggression, paranoia and euphoria alternating with depression.
Abuse of laxatives
The laxatives are used to restore normal bowel regularity, but if used improperly can also lead to an involuntary weight loss, mainly due to the decrease in intestinal absorption of nutrients, increase the sense of satiety and therefore to reduced food intake. The effect on body weight is also linked to the increase in fluid loss.
We speak of eating disorders in the presence of those pathologies characterized by an alteration of eating habits and by an excessive concern for the weight and shape of one’s body. Among the most common eating disorders anorexia and bulimia can be indicated.
The symptoms of mononucleosis, also known as “kiss disease”, are often moderate and consist of a general sense of malaise , asthenia and fatigue . Just this asthenia can be the origin of an unwanted weight loss.
Metabolic changes (diabetes and hyperthyroidism)
In the case of type 1 diabetes , unexplained weight loss is among the main initial symptoms; equally, in case of hyperthyroidism , the thyroid gland is overactive and causes an excessive acceleration of various functions of the organism, such as the heartbeat and precisely the metabolism.
Some chemotherapy or medicines used for thyroid problems can lead to weight loss. In this case it is good to consult your doctor to evaluate the therapy followed.
Generally body weight reaches a maximum value around 60 years, remains stable up to 80, and then gradually decreases. In this case, weight loss is due to several factors: lean body mass decreases and less physical activity takes place, this leads to a decrease in daily caloric needs and therefore a decrease in food intake; the sense of hunger decreases because taste and olfactory perception decrease; the chewing ability is reduced; some digestive disorders may arise such as slowed gastric emptying.
An unintentional weight loss over time becomes severe, it can have effects on quality of life, but also undermine the effectiveness of a therapy or recovering from an illness, becoming a risk factor that can lead to death. An organism that does not receive adequate nutrition can see impaired human body functions such as immune function, kidney function, menstrual cycle, thermoregulation, wound healing and muscle capacity.
Depending on the cause that led to weight loss, it is possible to intervene in different ways. In case of anxiety or conditions of strong stress, psychological intervention may be necessary; in some cases pharmacological treatments are indispensable, while at other times targeted measures on the food diet, accompanied by adequate physical activity, may still be sufficient.
When to seek medical attention
If you ever lose weight for no apparent reason, in terms of more than 5 kilos or more than 5% of your body weight, in a period of less than 6-12 months, the advice is always to use Weight Manager. Above all, make sure that no other symptoms are associated with weight loss.