12 Reasons Behind Unexplained Weight Loss And How to Handle It

unexplained weight loss
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Majority of the people around would be happy when losing weight, right? Not quite though. When the levels are drastic and imposes negative impacts on your well being, chances are that there is some underlying issue that’s bugging your health altogether. Does anything explain the unexplained weight loss you are going through?

Weight loss is not favourable in every single condition. That is predominantly not how everything works. There is a margin for healthy weight loss, which when crossed, can be alarming for your health.

In this piece, we are hoping to present you with some of the probable reasons that can help you assess the situation and find for yourself if the sudden unexplained weight loss is healthy or not.

What is Unexplained Weight Loss?

What is Unexplained Weight Loss
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Every single one of us has their ideal Body-Mass Index and the one that our body corresponds to. While some of us are over the mark, some under, some are in their ideal shape and size.

Irrespective of everything, unexplained weight loss is the condition we experience when we end up losing over 5% of or initial body weight in a matter of 4-6 months time.

If you are consistently losing weight even without any form of efforts put into the weight loss journey, chances are that there is some underlying condition affecting your body and thereby inducing the unprecedented weight loss.

How Much Unexplained Weight Loss Is Bad?

How Much Unexplained Weight Loss Is Bad
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As mentioned before, doctors suggest that a sudden loss of over 5-10% of the initial body weight in 4-6 months without any additional efforts put into the process is what is alarming and needs to be assessed closely.

Every person’s rate of metabolism is different and doesn’t necessarily coincide but if your scale weight is consistently dropping, it is an alarming condition to look out for.

It is important to ensure that you consult a doctor for the same because the lack of it often ends up impacting the body and you might not even be aware of what is causing the rapid weight loss.

What Are The Causes Of Unexplained Weight Loss?

What Are The Causes Of Unexplained Weight Loss
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The reasons behind unexplained weight loss can be abundant and while some can be normal things, some of them do delve into the serious factors that one needs to look out for.

If you have been experiencing similar conditions, the best way to combat the same is by ensuring that you first seek out some advice of the medical professional to avoid any kind of issues altogether.

Some of the common underlying causes behind sudden unexplained weight loss include:

1. Muscle Wasting

Muscle Wasting
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Muscles do make up for majority of your body weight. Muscle wasting is one of the most common reasons behind the unexplained weight loss.

If you have been witnessing signs of muscle weakness paired with the weight loss, chances are that you are undergoing muscle wasting.

Now the question comes down to one.

What causes muscle wasting?

There could be a number of factors inducing muscle wasting (R), the common being the diseases like osteoporosis, arthritis, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis and a few more.

It doesn’t necessarily matter what the reason behind the muscle wasting be, if you are losing any part of the fat free mass from the body, it will contribute to weight loss.

Instead of worrying, it is necessary to trace the reason causing the muscle wasting and opt for treatments to cure the condition completely.

2. Cancer


Everyone does get scared when it comes to mentioning cancer but it is actually one of the reasons behind unexplained weight loss.

Cancer has the possibility of inducing rapid weight loss and even the doctors do confirm the same.

If you have been losing weight in an unexplained way (R) (R) without any kind of alterations in the diet or exercise regime, chances are that they might be suffering from cancer.

Cancer cachexia is one of the most common reasons that contribute to systemic inflammation in the body.

Often times, many tend to simply just forego the symptoms for something normal which is what ends up affecting the condition even further.

3. Hyperthyroidism

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The thyroid gland in the body is primary metabolism regulator in our body.

The endocrine functions of the body have equal impacts on our overall body much like how the other factors do. If you want to know what might be causing the issues altogether, the overactive thyroid could very well be a reason behind the same.

When you have an overactive thyroid, it tends to produce more thyroid hormone than what is required by the body.

What this does is it ends up boosting the overall metabolism of the body which makes you burn more calories (R) if you do have a good appetite.

The more calories you burn the more reasons behind the unexplained weight loss.

For this kind of unexplained weight loss treatment, it is best to consult a doctor and see what kind of method they suggest to cope with the situation. Anti-thyroid medication, beta blockers and possible surgery are some of the ways to correct the situation.

4. Stress


Stress is one of the most common contributors to the sudden unexplained weight loss. The reasons might not necessarily seem very visible but does end up impacting the overall body functions to the brim.

The consistent stress in the body is often a very common reason behind the loss of appetite. If you have been witnessing similar conditions where the overwhelming stress has been taking over your reasons behind the unexplained weight loss, chances are that your body is in a fight or flight mode because of the lack of food in it.

When the body is under stress, the signal triggers the hypothalamus in the brain to secrete corticotrophin-releasing hormone (R) (R) which is responsible for suppressing the appetite.

Additionally, the heightened stress levels in the body do end up contributing to the triggering of the adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys. As a response, the gland does end up secreting epinephrine which further puts the body in the fight or flight mode, preventing the person to feel hunger.

Since you eat less, the weight loss is actually unprecedented over the course of time.

5. Diabetes


Diabetes, especially the Type-1 Diabetes is one of the most common reasons behind unexplained weight loss.

People suffering from Type-1 Diabetes tend to have their own immune system attack the beta cells in your pancreas that secrete insulin.

With the unbalanced levels of insulin (R) in the body, the body is inadequate in catering to the much needed glucose metabolism in the body.

What this does is end up making the glucose excrete from the body without proper action, thus ending up burning away the essential calories in the body too.

With the removal of the unused glucose through urine, it does become evident that you wash away the calories from the body too.

If you have been losing weight at an unprecedented rate, chances are that you might be suffering from Diabetes type – 1.

6. Addison’s Disease

Addison-s Disease

Also often known as Adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease (R) is a condition characterized by the lack of secretion of cortisol in the blood stream.

It is the body’s normal response during a stressful situation to produce a lot of cortisol but for people suffering from Addison’s disease, the condition is not that easy and streamlined.

People suffering from this disease tend to have affected stress response (R) which ends up making them sick and also suffer throughout.

If you have been witnessing unexplained weight loss, the main reason behind the same could be your impaired adrenal gland functioning.

Aside from weight loss, the patients also tend to witness signs of light headedness, nausea and even infections.

7. Parasitic Infection

Parasitic Infection
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Parasites are common inside your body too and while it is hard to detect them altogether, it can be one of the primary reasons behind the unexplained weight loss. Some of the common forms of parasites found in the body include protozoa and helminths.

Owing to the fact that these parasites feed on their host, it is not surprising that they take up the nutrition and healthy calories that you are putting into your body.

Not just that, they also cause issues with the digestion and the functions of the GI tract which further end up contributing to the loss of weight owing to the consistent loss of appetite.

The prevailing indigestion paired with the loss of appetite often stands out to become one of the primary reasons behind the sudden unexplained weight loss.

8. Depression


Clinical depression and unexplained weight loss do go hand in hand. If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, chances are that you will also experience loss of appetite which is critical to the unexplained weight loss (R).

The worst thing about this form of unexplained weight loss is the fact that the person often times doesn’t even realize they are losing weight.

If you are finding yourself stuck to a constant realm of negative thoughts and lingering sadness, chances are that you need to consult a professional for the same and get the symptoms checked out.

There are a number of ways to seek help for depression, but it is necessary you yourself realize that you need help for your condition.

9. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
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You might be here thinking, “But, how does some lung disease have correlation with unexplained weight loss?”

Well, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a progressive lung disease which includes the condition of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

If you are wondering how this disease is effective in impacting the condition of sudden unexplained weight loss, the main reason behind the same is because of the labored breathing. Laboured breathing is responsible for the effective calorie burning which is what ends up contributing to the overall unexplained weight loss.

A person suffering from COPD required 10 calories more to breathe in comparison to the normal person.

In order to prevent the unexplained weight loss induced by this condition, the most common thing to do is to get rid of the habit of smoking altogether.

10. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis
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While majority of the people tend to often just correlate arthritis with that of bone health, the condition is more than just that.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition characterized in which the cells in the own body impacts the healthy cells in the body causing loss of appetite in the long run.

The fact about this is that not many people actually do realize the condition and forego it as normal joints pains.

Infections are quite common in this condition and one of the side effects it inflicts is to induce signs of infection which ends up knocking out one’s appetite.

Apart from that, the same ends up causing inflammation in the gut which is associated with lack of nutrient absorption that could be one of the potent reasons behind unexplained weight loss.

11. Endocarditis

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Endocarditis is a condition which causes inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. The condition is primarily caused when there is any form of bacterial infestation in the bloodstream which ends up infesting in the heart.

Majority of the people suffering from this condition end up suffering from a fever. The main side effect of this condition is also the loss of appetite. This is the primary reason why people end up losing weight in an unprecedented way.

Not just that, the fever and the high body temperature most of the time ends up causing an increased metabolism which is characterized by an unexplained weight loss.

It is not a condition witnessed in the healthy hearts as such and does end up affecting the people who have heart conditions already.

12. Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure
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Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to fill up with the much need volume of blood to pump out to the other parts of the body. This is what ends up affecting the overall digestive process, mainly because of the fact that it fails to supply them with the much needed levels of blood supply.

This is the primary reason why people suffering from this condition tend to suffer from sudden unexplained weight loss as well.

When the blood supply to the digestive organs are not enough, it ends up affecting the feeling of fullness and makes you reach your satiety sooner. The inflammation has also been associated with heightened metabolism which ends up causing unintentional weight loss.

Unexplained Weight Loss Treatment

Unexplained Weight Loss Treatment

When it comes to the unexplained weight loss treatment, the possibilities of understanding the condition are quite tough and rare.

It is important to ensure that you seek out immediate medical attention when the weight loss is consistent and is affecting the overall homeostasis of the body.

As for the treatment, the same depends on the condition affecting the condition in the first place. The treatment can never be generalized and needs to be targeted to the condition affecting the body and causing the weight loss in the first place.

When to See A Doctor For Unexplained Weight Loss?

When To See A Doctor For Unexplained Weight Loss

As mentioned before, weight gain or weight loss is never linear.

The process is absolutely going to sometimes go up and sometimes down. That being said, it is important to ensure that you seek a doctor opinion on the condition when your weight loss is consistent without any kind of drastic change in your daily routine or lifestyle.

If you have lost more than 5% of the overall weight in a matter of 3-6 months, it is very important to consult a doctor to get the problem checked out completely for any underlying health condition.

When it comes to estimating the reasons behind the unexplained weight loss, they can be quite vast. It is very important to dig deeper into the condition and find any kind of underlying health condition and then opt for effective ways to combat the situation altogether.