Some people might see a sudden weight loss as a welcome change. However, things may look completely different if there’s seemingly no reason why the scale shows significantly lower numbers.
Unexplained weight loss has many causes, both medical and nonmedical. Often it can even be a combination of two or more conditions that result in a lower body mass. Therefore, if you haven’t been making active efforts to lose weight but still managed to do so, you shouldn’t postpone your doctor’s appointment any longer.
While it’s true that, in some cases, a severe disease might be putting a strain on your body, other common reasons for sudden weight loss include conditions such as anxiety, depression, Addison’s disease, or even muscle loss.
With that being said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all weight loss equals a life-threatening disease, but when it’s unintentional, it might be a sign of one of these medical conditions.
First, it’s essential to determine what is characterized as unintentional weight loss. It can be defined as a loss of at least 5% of body weight over a period of six to twelve months. Another detail is the lack of changing your diet or exercise routine. You should also consider Orlando Body Fat Analysis to determine your healthy weight more accurately to figure out how severe your problem is.
Treatment involves identifying the underlying cause of the weight loss – that’s why it’s so important not to ignore the issue and contact your healthcare provider as soon as you notice the worrying symptoms.
Other signs that often accompany a sudden weight loss and might be a reason for concern include, but are not limited to:
Muscle loss, also known as muscle wasting, can lead to unexpected weight loss. One of its most characteristic symptoms is overall muscle weakness. On top of that, one of your limbs might appear smaller and look weaker than the other.
Because a human body is made of fat and fat-free mass, it’s only natural that if you start losing muscle, you also lose weight. Some of the common reasons for muscle loss include not using them for a while, especially when you don’t exercise regularly or have a desk job. In most cases, exercise and a proper diet should be enough to reverse muscle loss, but you should still make sure to see a doctor.
Stress and anxiety are commonly associated with weight gain, but sudden and unexplained weight loss is also a problem that may occur with this condition. Lack of eating, which is often caused by loss of appetite due to intense anxiety, eats away muscle and slows your metabolism. Nervous movements, such as leg nervous ticks and leg shakes, might also cause you to lose weight when you’re dealing with anxiety. Some people even feel that they constantly need to get up and move around, which can burn away calories.
Seeing a medical professional is important when you think you may be affected by anxiety. In its intense stage, you may not even realize how little you’re eating. This can cause massive weight loss very quickly and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Sudden weight loss is one of the common side effects of depression. A depressed person goes through emotions like deep sadness and loneliness, which can interfere with daily activities, such as going to work or school, and taking proper care of yourself. Naturally, it also affects one’s appetite, leading to unexpected weight loss. Other symptoms that should be consulted with a doctor include:
Depression can be treated with antidepressants, behavioral therapy, or psychotherapy. It’s a serious condition that shouldn’t be disregarded and requires medical attention.
Addison’s disease is a disorder that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones. As a result, the immune system starts to attack the adrenal glands, which produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress, and other essential functions. The hormonal imbalance can lead to poor appetite, which results in weight loss, as well as low blood pressure, fatigue, muscle weakness, salt cravings, or hyperpigmentation.
While Addison’s disease is rare, it occurs in all age groups and both sexes. It’s also a serious condition, and affected patients need hormone replacement therapy for life.
Thyroid gland disorders affect around 200 million people worldwide. Some of those conditions are caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormone in the body (hyperthyroidism). What is more, these hormones control many functions in the body, including metabolism. An overactive thyroid causes your body to burn calories quicker than usual, even if you have no issues with appetite. This can result in unintentional weight loss.
Treatment depends on the patient’s age and the severity of their condition. It can be treated with antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine, beta-blockers, or surgery.
Ultimately, unexplained weight loss is something you should definitely pay attention to and discuss with your doctor. If you have experienced a sudden change in your weight after not actively trying to lose weight for a long time, it’s best to get a checkup as soon as possible. This way, you will be able to learn the cause of the problem and prevent any potentially life-threatening conditions from taking hold.
If left untreated, severe disease may affect your entire body and lead to poor health. So if you haven’t been making active efforts to lose weight but still managed to do so, consult a doctor as soon as possible.