Sudden weight loss causes without changing anything and without making any effort is the dream of many. But if such a “miracle” really happens, you should ask yourself the question: Is everything all right with your health? Should I see a doctor? Here are some unpleasant causes of abnormal weight loss to be aware of.
Weight is one of the important indicators of health. Lack of body weight, like its excess, scientists associated with an increased risk of death. But sudden sharp fluctuations in weight, even within your normal range, can be a worrying sign.
Let’s say your normal weight is 72 kg. You have noticed that in six months you have lost 4 kg – more than five percent. This is already a significant indicator. If this change happened without any effort on your part (you consumed about the same amount of calories and maintained the same level of activity), this may be reason enough to see a doctor, just in case.
And if there are other symptoms – weakness (which may indicate loss of muscle mass), dry skin, brittle hair and nails (a sign of loss of vitamins and minerals), mood swings, disturbances in the functioning of the intestines, or strange signals from the heart – then, even more, it is better to make an appointment with a therapist.
More often than not, unhealthy weight loss signals a metabolic failure. But the reasons for this failure may be different.
Sudden Weight Loss Causes Could be Sign of Cancer
About 40% of cancer patients have noticed dramatic weight loss at the time of diagnosis. A 2018 study showed that this symptom ranks second among the early signs of cancer. It is observed in leukemia and lymphoma, lung cancer (especially adenocarcinoma), colon, ovary, and pancreas.
One of the reasons is the tumor itself, whose cells change metabolism, weakening its ability to absorb protein and receive energy. As a result, muscles wither and fatty tissue becomes thinner, which leads to a sharp decrease in weight. Another reason is the immune response. To fight the tumor, the immune system produces substances called cytokines. With their help, the body mobilizes resources to slow down the growth of malignant cells. This can lead to weight and muscle loss and decreased appetite.
The fact that weight loss is associated precisely with the development of cancer may also be indicated by other symptoms – chronic fatigue, nausea, aversion to food, constantly elevated temperature. In addition, different types of cancer have their own characteristics: swollen lymph nodes, reddish spots on the skin, bleeding, changes in bowel function, and frequent coughing.
Quick Weight Loss May Be Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland controls the metabolism with the help of hormones. If more of them are produced, cells consume oxygen more actively, breathing and heart rate increase. The processes in the body begin to work, as it were, in sprint mode. As a result, more nutrients are wasted, which can be reflected in weight. Other signs that suggest thyroid dysfunction are weakness, unreasonable anxiety, irritability or irritability, trouble sleeping, and hot flashes.
Most often, increased activity of the thyroid gland occurs with Graves’ disease (in about 50% of cases) and various kinds of tumors that affect the organ. But there may be other reasons as well. So, about 7% of women develop postpartum thyroiditis in the first year after giving birth, and one of the symptoms of its initial phase is just a sharp weight loss. Too “hard” work of the thyroid gland can also provoke a diet with a lot of iodine – for example, seaweed.
Diabetes is an Another Reason of Sudden Weight Loss Causes
In type I diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin. It is a hormone that the body uses to metabolize sugar (glucose) from food. To flush out glucose that has not been utilized, the body increases urine output – as a result, the body loses fluid and nutrients.
Another reason is associated with the starvation of the body. Due to the fact that glucose does not enter the tissue, adipose and muscle tissues are used as an energy source. As a result of active fat burning, body weight decreases sharply – up to 10-15 kg per month. In addition to weight loss, a person may feel weakness, dizziness, and severe hunger. He begins to go to the toilet more often, the smell of acetone from the mouth appears.
It is often thought that type 1 diabetes develops in childhood and that its causes are hereditary. But it is not always the case. In about 20% of cases, this type of diabetes develops already in adulthood. And most of these cases are not genetic in nature.
In the intestine, nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream, which then enters the cells. For this process, microscopic villi are responsible, which are dotted with the mucous membrane. If for some reason, the mucous membrane becomes thinner or dies, the body receives less nutrition. There is no one to “unload” the food conveyor that passes through the intestinal tract.
A common cause of mucosal damage in various forms of food intolerance, such as celiac disease (intolerance to the protein gluten found in cereals). When gluten enters the body of a person with celiac disease, their immune system mistakenly attacks the small intestine. Similar problems can arise with chronic gastritis, enteritis, colitis.
If weight loss is associated with malabsorption of nutrients, symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, feeling of heaviness, diarrhea, or constipation are observed. It is worth paying attention to the signs of a lack of vitamins and minerals – anemia, dry skin, brittle nails, bleeding gums.
Significant Weight Loss is Common in Severe Heart Failure
Significant weight loss is common in severe heart failure. According to a 2014 study, people with this condition have a 3 times higher risk of cardiac arrest if doctors record their weight loss dramatically.
Why does this condition cause people to lose weight? There is no definite answer. According to one version, since it is difficult for the heart to pump blood and supply oxygen to tissues, the body spends more energy on breathing in order to receive it. Low blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract can make it difficult to absorb nutrients. Another explanation is the high level of inflammatory cytokines that increase the metabolic rate in tissues.
It should be added that weight loss may not always be noticeable due to the edema that accompanies this condition.
Mental or Neurological Diseases
In conditions such as depression, anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, a person may not realize for a long time that something has changed in his life. Especially if he is immersed in work or not inclined to listen to himself. And then you should pay attention to weight fluctuations.
Clinical depression rebuilds the biochemistry of the brain – in particular, affects those parts of the brain that control appetite and pleasure in eating. People with depression have an impaired sense of taste and smell. Any food seems bland. In addition, neuroses and depression are often accompanied by an exacerbation of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as same gastritis.
Medications used to treat certain conditions can speed up your metabolism, leading to more calories or less hunger. These include stimulants, chemotherapy drugs, antidepressants, and type II diabetes medications. Talk to your doctor if you lose your appetite or lose weight after starting the medication.