The Sudden Weight Loss in your body (Causes)

The Sudden Weight Loss in your body (Causes)

Weight loss can be intentional; such as from dieting and exercise, or unintentional and be a manifestation of illness. Weight loss can result from a decrease in body fluid, muscle mass, or fat. A decrease in body fluid can come from medications, fluid loss, lack of fluid intake, or illnesses such as diabetes. A decrease in body fat can be intentionally caused by exercise and dieting, such as overweight or obesity. Weight loss is normal after pregnancy. Other causes of weight loss include, but are not limited to, cancer, viral infection (such as CMV or HIV), gastroenteritis, parasite infection, depression, bowel diseases, and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). But, today we will discuss the sudden weight loss!

The loss of weight and lack of nutrition associated with a chronic illness is referred to as cachexia. Unexplained, unintentional weight loss is often a result of illness and should be evaluated by a health care professional.

sudden weight loss

Most people are very aware of the dangerous consequences of weight gain, and many articles focus on ways to lose weight. However, unintended weight loss can also jeopardize a person’s health or indicate an underlying medical condition.

People may gain or lose weight in response to seasonal changes or when facing important or stressful life changes, such as moving home or starting a new job.

However, a person may wish to see a doctor if they experience significant weight loss that has no clear explanation.

Unexplained weight loss has many causes, medical and nonmedical. Often, a combination of things results in a general decline in your health and a related weight loss. Sometimes a specific cause isn’t found.

Usually, unrecognized cancer will have other symptoms or abnormalities of laboratory tests, in addition to unexplained weight loss.

11 Potential causes of sudden weight loss in your body:

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces more hormones than the body requires. People sometimes refer to this condition as an overactive thyroid.

The thyroid produces certain hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, so an excess of these hormones often causes the body to burn more energy than usual. Burning more energy and calories can lead to unintentional or sudden weight loss.

sudden weight loss

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • fatigue
  • tremor with shaking hands
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • rapid heartbeat
  • changes in mood, such as an increase in irritability or nervousness
  • diarrhoea
  • a swelling in the neck, called goitre

2. Depression

The symptoms of depression can also cause weight loss.

In a 2017 prospective study, researchers examined the causes of unexplained weight loss in 2,677 adults. They identified depression as the underlying cause in 7% of the participants.

According to the researchers behind a 2016 study, there is evidence to suggest that people with depression may have associated suppressed interplay among the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands, which may affect the function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Changes to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland can also affect the adrenal glands, which produce multiple hormones. These hormones include cortisol, which helps regulate blood pressure, blood glucose level, and metabolism. This can cause sudden weight loss in your body!

Other symptoms of depression include:

  • persistent or recurring feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or apathy
  • changes in appetite, such as eating more or less than usual
  • unintentional weight loss or weight gain

3. Addison’s disease

 Addison’s disease is most commonly due to a rare autoimmune disease that harms the adrenal glands and prevents them from producing enough cortisol and aldosterone.

People who have Addison’s disease might notice a decrease in their appetite as well as unexplained weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Other symptoms of Addison’s disease include:

addison's disease
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • low blood pressure, or hypotension.
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • abnormally darkened areas of skin, or hyperpigmentation
  • low levels of sugar and sodium in the blood
  • high levels of potassium in the blood
  • low red blood cell count, or anemia
  • high white blood cell count (leukocytosis), typically due to too many eosinophils

4. Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to two inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions with immune system dysfunction: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, only affects the large intestine.

IBD can reduce the body’s ability to digest food properly or absorb nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition.

Weight loss is a common symptom of both conditions, especially among younger people. Other symptoms of IBD include:

  • frequent diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • bloody stools due to GI tract bleeding
  • fatigue
  • fever

5. Muscle loss

Muscle loss, also known as muscle atrophy, occurs when the muscles shrink or waste away. This condition can cause unexplained weight loss.

Possible causes of muscle loss include:

  • inactivity due to an injury
  • malnutrition
  • aging
  • a stroke
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

People can often prevent muscle loss through proper nutrition and regular exercise. Physical therapy after an injury or stroke may help reverse or prevent muscle loss.

6. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints.

Although the Arthritis Foundation estimate that two-thirds of people who have RA are overweight or have obesity, people who have RA may experience weight loss.

This weight loss may occur because the chronic inflammation that RA causes forces the body to use more energy. In addition, people who have RA may experience muscle loss because the inflammation in their joints keeps them from engaging in regular physical activity.

Some medications that people take to treat RA may cause side effects, such as diarrhoea and loss of appetite, which can also contribute to weight loss.


7. Cancer

Although cancer symptoms tend to vary depending on the type, stage, and location of the disease, unexplained weight loss is sometimes a sign of cancer.

Cancer refers to any disease in which abnormal and mutated cells rapidly multiply and eventually invade healthy tissue.

Weight loss is especially common in lung cancer and cancers that affect the digestive tract, such as:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bile duct carcinoma
  • Oesophageal cancer

Other early symptoms of cancer to pay attention to include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • pain
  • digestive issues
  • changes in bowel or bladder function
  • skin changes
  • a persistent cough

8. Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease. This includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD have both.

Emphysema slowly damages the air sacs in your lungs, making it hard to breathe. Chronic bronchitis causes inflammation of the airways that bring air to your lungs. This produces mucus, coughing, and breathing issues.

Early COPD is mild. Some people may not show symptoms but those that may appear include:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • chest tightness
  • mild coughing, with or without mucus

In later stages, COPD can cause weight loss. Laboured breathing burns a lot of calories. a person with COPD may need 10 more times more calories to breathe than a person without COPD. It can also feel uncomfortable to eat and breathe at the same time.

Symptoms of severe COPD also include:

  • swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • low muscle endurance
  • fatigue

The main cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. Long-term exposure to irritants such as air pollution and dust can also lead to COPD. Treatment includes medications, such as bronchodilators, and lung therapies, like oxygen therapy.

9. Endocarditis

Endocarditis causes inflammation of your heart’s inner lining, or endocardium. It develops when germs —usually bacteria — enter the bloodstream and collect in your heart.

Most people with endocarditis have a fever. This may come along with a poor appetite. Elevated body temperature also increases metabolism and burns fat, causing weight loss.


Other symptoms include:

  • heart murmur
  • coughing, with or without blood
  • abdominal pain
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • night sweats
  • back pain
  • headache
  • red or purple spots on the skin

Endocarditis is rare in healthy hearts. It’s more likely to affect people with damaged heart valves, artificial heart valves, or congenital heart defects. Treatment of endocarditis includes antibiotics and surgery.

10. Tuberculosis

Another cause of unexplained weight loss is tuberculosis (TB), a contagious condition that usually affects the lungs. It’s caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Weight loss and decreased appetite are major symptoms of TB, but the reasons aren’t fully understood.

TB spreads through the air. You can catch TB without getting sick. If your immune system can fight it, the bacteria will become inactive. This is called latent TB.

Over time, it can turn into active TB. Symptoms include:

  • bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or more
  • chest pain
  • coughing up blood or phlegm
  • fatigue
  • night sweats
  • chills
  • fever

Some people are at risk for active TB. This includes people with weak immune systems, especially those who have:

  • low body weight
  • substance use disorder
  • diabetes
  • silicosis
  • leukaemia
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • HIV
  • organ transplant

TB is typically treated with a course of antibiotics for six to nine months.

11. Congestive Heart Failure.

Weight loss is a complication of congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF develops when the heart can’t fill up with enough blood, the heart can’t pump blood with enough force, or both. It may affect one or both sides of the heart.

If you have CHF, your digestive system can’t receive enough blood. This can lead to nausea and early fullness. Additionally, it might be hard to breathe while eating.

The inflammation in damaged heart tissue also speeds up metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss.

CHF symptoms also include:

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent coughing
  • swelling
  • fatigue
  • fast heart rate

There are several medications used to treat CHF, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, and diuretics. In some cases, surgery might be necessary.

THE CONCLUSION (Sudden Weight loss)

Men vs. women

Compared with women, men have a higher rate of:

  • Endocarditis
  • Pancreatic caner
  • Lung cancer

Women are at higher risk for COPD. Women are also 2 to 10 times more likely to develop hyperthyroidism and 2 to 3 times more likely to have RA.

When to see a doctor? (Sudden Weight Loss)

sudden weight loss

It’s normal for your body weight to fluctuate. 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, or if you notice any of the above symptoms, visit your doctor.

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