What may be behind unexplained weight loss

What may be behind unexplained weight loss

Quickly shed several pounds … some dream of it. But when this weight loss is completely involuntary, without diet or deprivation, it is better to consult your doctor without delay.

Weight balance is a criterion of good health. Any rapid weight gain or loss should therefore alert, especially if you have not changed your eating habits. This sudden variation can indeed be the harbinger of a dysfunction of the body or of a disease. But since thinness is popular in our society, complaining about melting like snow in the sun is almost taboo.

The medical profession considers that weight loss is pathological when you lose 5% of your weight in less than 6 months or 10% of your weight in less than a year , or 5.5 kilos for a woman weighing 55 kilos for example. 

Psychic causes in almost half of the cases

” Depression often results in a disturbance of appetite”, notes Dr William de Carvalho, psychiatrist in Paris. While some people with depression take refuge in food, others lose the pleasure of eating. Food seems tasteless to them and the very idea of ​​having to eat becomes an insurmountable chore. Hence a sudden weight loss that increases the feeling of immense fatigue characteristic of depression.

A stress excessive appetite and also refreine alters fat storage. This is why some women lose weight enormously after giving birth , between the crying of the baby, the disturbance of the family balance, the lack of sleep and the resumption of work to manage. Result: they are found thinner than before pregnancy, while the majority of women keep 0.4 to 3 extra kilos for up to 12 months after birth.

Malnutrition caused by anorexia nervosa or by repeated binge eating, followed by systematic vomiting, is also a source of many rapid weight loss.Read also:Why losing weight quickly is risky for your health

The manifestation of a digestive or infectious disease

Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis frequently cause weight loss because transit is accelerated (diarrhea) and nutrients are poorly absorbed in the intestine. In children, delays in growth and puberty are even observed. A gastric ulcer also induces a cast on the scales due to the pain and loss of appetite it causes.about:blank

Possible hormonal dysfunction

An insulin-dependent diabetes is often manifested by weight loss and severe dehydration, which grows to drink a lot and increase the volume of urine. A disruption of the thyroid gland also has repercussions on weight. If it works in slow motion (hypothyroidism), “we tend to gain a little weight despite a moderate appetite”, reports Dr. Pierre Nys, endocrinologist author of The IG Thyroid diet  (ed. Leduc.s). Conversely, when it gets carried away (hyperthyroidism), the overflow of hormones triggers excessive metabolic reactions: the heart panics, the sweat glands produce too much sweat, transit speeds up, etc. Suddenly, “we lose weight even when we eat more than usual”, explains Dr. Nys.about:blank

An indicator of cancer

One of the first symptoms of cancer is sudden weight loss . In fact, 4 out of ten people diagnosed report a significant weight loss in the previous months. A British study, from the University of Oxford, in April 2018 proved this frequent link. By compiling the medical data of 11.5 million patients, the researchers established that weight loss was associated with the occurrence of ten types of cancer: that of the lungs , kidney, pancreas, stomach, colon , gall bladder, ovary , prostate as well as myeloma and lymphoma non-Hodgkin.

It is therefore better not to take the situation lightly. In the event of significant unscheduled weight loss, make an appointment quickly with your attending physician so that he can objectively assess your weight loss, determine the cause and refer you to the most appropriate specialist.


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