Causes of Weight Loss

Simple Causes: Weight loss need not be a major disease. In fact, it is often explained by simple changes that have occurred in your lifestyle, such as:

  • Eating less. Are you just eating less foods, less often, dieting, or cooking less? Or is there a problem getting enough food or a problem cooking it?
  • Eating better. Are you eating fewer fatty foods, more fresh foods, less fast food, and so on?
  • Exercising more. This doesnít just mean that youíre hitting the gym more regularly, it can also be an increase in other activity. For example, you might be walking more, standing up more at a new job, or just cleaning out around the house more regularly.

But if none of these seems to fit, then the cause of the weight loss needs to be investigated by a doctor.

Dehydration? Watch out for dehydration. Usually the two symptoms are distinct enough, but sometimes loss of fluid may appear to be like weight loss. Dehydration can be a dangerous issue.

Poor Eating. Weight loss can be due to problems with eating. Some of the associated medical conditions include:

  • Chronic Illness: Have you had a recent severe illness that has made it difficult to feel well enough to eat?
  • Malnutrition. This can occur due to poverty or neglect. It can also occur in the elderly due to practical difficulties with cooking or shopping.
  • Failure to Thrive. When an infant fails to properly gain weight, this is called ďfailure to thriveĒ. This isnít really weight loss as such, as the infant need not lose weight, but the child is not gaining enough weight for normal growth.
  • Malabsorption. The failure of the body to properly absorb the nutrients in food, which can cause weight loss or failure to thrive. There are various causes of malabsorption.

Vomiting or Regurgitation: Weight loss can occur if a person is not keeping the food down. Possibilities include:

Appetite changes: One possible cause of eating less and weight loss is a decline in your appetite. Are you just not feeling as hungry? Donít feel like eating as much? Some disorders that cause unusual changes to appetite include:

Read more about: Decreased Appetite, Swallowing Difficulty, Appetite Symptoms.

Major Diseases: There are a number of important diseases that can cause unexplained weight loss.

Abdominal Fullness. Do you feel fuller earlier when eating? Another possible cause of both decline in appetite and of weight loss are some disorders that can cause the stomach to feel fuller earlier. Some of these medical conditions include:

  • Gastric Motility Disorders. This is the general name for a number of diseases where the stomach and the digestive system move food more slowly, which means you feel fuller for longer.
  • Delayed Gastric Emptying.
  • Gastroparesis (Diabetic Gastroparesis). This is a disorder of the stomach nerve that causes the stomach to process food more slowly.
  • Diabetic Diarrhea. This is a neuropathy of the intestinal nerves, that causes food to be passed along more slowly.
  • Stomach disorder (various types).
  • Abdominal obstructions.

Read more about: Abdominal Fullness.

Acute Digestive Disorders: There are a number of digestive disorders that can cause weight loss. Usually there are other symptoms, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation.

Chronic Digestive Disorders: There are many possible chronic disorders of the digestive system that could interfere with the digestion of food. If food is not properly digested, then weight loss is common. In most cases there are symptoms other than weight loss, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

There are many others. Read more about: Chronic Digestive Disorders.

Eating Disorders: There are a number of eating disorders that can cause a person to lose weight, or to have appetite changes. Some of the related eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Diabulimia. A fancy name for the use of intentionally poor diabetic control to lose weight by effectively provoking a weight loss complication of diabetes.

Read more about: Eating Disorders.

Respiratory Infections: A number of other diseases can cause weight loss, usually in conjunction with other symptoms. Some possibilities include:

There are many other possibilities; read more about: Respiratory Infections.

Tumors and Cancers: It is fairly well-known that weight loss may be a symptom of cancer. Although not the most common cause, it is one of the most serious. Possible causes include:

Other Diseases: Various other diseases may cause weight loss, such as:

Substance Causes: Poison, drug and medication-related causes include:

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.