Health & Fitness

Unexplained Weight Loss and Medical Conditions

Unexplained weight loss

Why am I losing weight without even trying? Is it normal? To find out if you are a victim of unexplained weight loss that has no apparent reason, read this article.   

Unexpected weight loss is a term for a disease when a person isn’t actively trying to lose weight but noticeably loses weight for no apparent reason. Ten pounds of five percent of one’s bodyweight loss in six to twelve months is thought to be “unexplained.”

According to Dr. Cupola’s words: “If you’re losing weight and your diet or activity hasn’t changed, you should be concerned.”

Keep in mind that not all weight loss is harmful. It can occur after a life-altering or stressful event, it can occur. if you don’t know why you’re losing weight, it could be an indication of some of these health issues that are given below…

1. Unexplained weight loss of Muscle

Unexpected weight loss can be a reason for muscle loss. Sometimes due to some negligent attitude can make our body vulnerable to consequences like, muscle wasting.

Muscle, bone, and water are major components of our body. Yeah, it’s definitely going to lose weight by losing muscle mass.

Do you have any ideas? Why does this happen? So, the reason behind in that clinical illness is not doing exercises, working on desk jobs, getting sluggish day by day, and above all is malnutrition .

Other causes:

  • Age factors
  • Heart disease like wise,Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Physical trauma


  • Muscle weakness


  • Exercises
  • Fulfillment of nutrition requirements can reverse this illness.

2. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a disease of overproduction of the thyroid by the thyroid gland. As a result,this condition can also be called overactive thyroid.

Besides all stimulatory functions, an increase in metabolism is one of them. This increase in the metabolism of the thyroid gland is the cause of converting calories into energy in no time. That is why hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid causes unexpected weight loss.


  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Irritability
  • Feeling of equation
  • Menstrual cycle disturbance
  • Apnea
  • Convulsion to one hand


  • Excessive doses of thyroid medication
  • Excessive intake of iodine
  • Thyroiditis
  • Graves’ disease


  • Drugs that block beta receptors
  • Antidotes hyperthyroidism
  • Surgery of thyroid gland
  • Usage of radioactive iodine either in medicine or taken by food

3. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease__COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is an abbreviation of COPD. This disease is associated with lung damage. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are included in this category. Both conditions are common in COPD. Alveoli that bring air to the lungs become chock-full with pus and mucus. Over time airways i-e airways get degenerated which causes difficulties in breathing. This condition causes your airways to become inflamed.

Deep breathing requires a significant calorie expenditure in later stages. A person with COPD may require up to ten times as many calories to breathe like someone who does not have the disease. Eating and breathing at the same time can also be uncomfortable.

 Severe symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulties due to pus formation
  • Pressure on the chest
  • Swelling of the lower extremities
  • lack of muscle stamina
  • Exhausted feeling


  • COPD induce primarily due to cigarette smoking.
  • Prolonged exposure to irritants such as air pollution and dust
  • Medications like bronchodilators 
  • Lung therapies like oxygen therapy

4. Heart disease__Endocarditis

Endocarditis can also be a reason for unexplained weight loss. It is a disease in which the internal lining of the heart__ Endocardium__ is inflamed. Due to accumulation of germs__commonly bacteria__ results in Endocarditis.

Endocarditis is commonly accompanied by a high fever. This is often accompanied by a lack of desire to eat. An increase in metabolism and fat burning are two additional benefits of an elevated core body temperature.

Other symptoms include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Coughing, whether bloody or not
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Pain in the chest
  • Inability to exhale
  • Waking up soaked in perspiration
  • A sore back
  • Headache
  • Spots on the skin that appear red or purple


  • Medication like antibiotics
  • Surgery

5. Irritability__Depression

We can define depression as a feeling of emptiness, sadness, loneliness and getting stuck in negative thoughts. Depression may lead to unexpected weight loss. It may last a duration minimum of two weeks.

This situation affects the normal weight of the body. Moreover, it also interrupts daily life activities such as doing your tasks or going to work by affecting the same area of the brain that controls hunger.

Depression: The Reason Behind the Unexplained Weight Loss

Depression can lead to an increase in hunger in some people. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosing and treating this condition.


  • A never-ending sense of sorrow
  • Passion for past times waning
  • Low vigor
  • A lack of focus
  • Excessive or insufficient sleep
  • Suicidal thoughts or contemplations
  • Irritability


  • Behavioral therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Treatment with antidepressants.

6. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease linked to the autoimmune system. This autoimmune system invades your joints’ lining. That is the reason that elevates the metabolism and leads to unexpected weight loss results.


  • Inflammation
  • Joints ache
  • The joint becomes immovable and for more than one hour they remain inactive.

Causes of RA: 

  • Age factor
  • Genes
  • Hormones are undergoing a shift
  • Smoking
  • Second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Obesity


  • Ant rheumatic medications
  • Hormonal treatment like corticosteroids,
  • Drugs that inhibit Janus associated kinase receptors

7. Diabetic Condition

It is a disease that imbalances the body insulin and glucose level. People with type 1 diabetes have elevated glucose levels in their blood. On the other hand, the body stops using glucose for energy. The matter of fact is that, there is a blockade of the production of insulin, as soon the immune system entirely invades the pancreas cell which is the machinery that produces the insulin hormone. As a result, it causes unnecessary loss of pounds.

This high amount of glucose level is excreted out through urine that the body doesn’t need. Besides glucose, calories also excrete out through urine.


  • Urinary incontinence
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Vision is hazy
  • A constant desire for water
  • Insatiable cravings


  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Diet changes
  • Workouts
  • Insulin intake

8. Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is one of those diseases that sometimes results in unexpected weight loss. This IBD is an abbreviated term that is denoted as inflammatory bowel disease which encapsulates chronic inflammatory disorders of the digestive tract. Cohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two diseases that appear in that category.

IBD not only reduces your body’s energy level in a catabolic state but lessens the urges to eat that come with weight loss. They are consequences of IBD. In which two types of hormones I.e. (1) hunger hormone (GHRELIN) and (2) satiety hormones (LEPTIN) start disruption.


  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • stomach ache
  • stool with blood

These signs are accelerated usually by particular foods. People with IBD may be cautious to take food.

Treatment of IBD:

  • Assistance through diet
  • surgery is unusual

9. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis virulent condition that spreads from person to person by air. The area, where it occurs, is the lungs. Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria are the causative agent of this disease. We can also assess weight loss in people with this disease.


  • cough with wheezing that persists 14 to 21 days
  • fever
  • chest pain
  • coughing with blood
  • exhausted feeling
  • Waking up damp in sweat
  • chills

People with compromised immune systems who are most vulnerable to TB are placed in the following frame…

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


  • Commonly handled with the direction of antibiotics for 8 to 9 months

10. Cancer

Cancer is the combination of multiple disorders where undifferentiated cells divide uncontrollably.

According to the American Cancer Society:

It is assessed that unexpected weight loss of 10 pounds is a primary symptom of cancer. Usually, cancer is not easily diagnosed in the early stages. But primarily esophagus, pancreatic, lungs and stomach cancer relate to muscle wasting due to elevated body energy expenditure. (REE)

Initial symptoms of cancer:

  • fever
  • skin changes
  • pain


  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy

11. Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a condition where the immune system damages the adrenal gland. So that the adrenal gland is not able to develop when adrenal glands damages by the attack of immune system. In turn, the adrenal glands can’t bring in sufficient hormones like cortisol. Enough hormones like cortisol and aldosterone.

Cortisol has a crucial role in metabolism and appetite. Reduction of these hormones leads to the following symptoms.


  • muscle defect
  • hyperpigmentation
  • chronic exhaustion
  • salt hunger
  • low blood pressure

It is surveyed that one in every 100,000 people in the United has this disease.


HIV is caused by Retrovirus that damages immune cells known as T cells. By affecting the immune cells, it diminishes its ability to protect from infection. This makes it difficult to fight infections. Then it leads to a contagious disease called AIDS. AIDS comes up with weight loss consequences that are fatal.

Symptoms of HIV:

  • rashes
  • night perspiration
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • muscle pain


  • Antiretroviral treatment
HIV could be the reason behind unexpected weight loss.

13. Congestive heart failure

CHF is a term for the disease in which the heart is not able to do its work properly. The heart can’t fill up and pump an adequate amount of blood with enough force. At last, it leads to nausea and rapid fullness and difficulty in breathing while eating and mainly weight loss.

CHF symptoms:

  • Difficulty of breath
  • chronic coughing
  • protruding
  • tiredness
  • rapid heart rate


  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme blockers
  • Beta-blockers that block beta receptors Diuretics

Men vs. women

If we do Comparison with women, men are more vulnerable to this situation. So it is surveyed:

Due to changes in their hormonal balance women are always at a high risk of unexpected weight loss conditions.


1. To what extent do you need to see a physician?

When it comes to weight, it’s perfectly normal to variate. However, there is something else going on if you’re losing weight without changing your habits.

Go to your doctor if you lose more than 5% of your body weight in six to 12 months, or if you notice any of the above symptoms.

2. Who is at risk for unexplained weight loss?

Anyone can lose weight without any apparent reason. But it is most common in people of age above 65. Even a weight shed of less than 5% of one’s body weight, or 10 pounds, can indicate a serious health problem in the elderly.

3. How can a doctor diagnose unexplained weight loss?

A doctor will ask you some questions physically, and then he will diagnose the present situation. The questions are as follows…

  • What kind of drugs are you taking?
  • To what extent you have lost weight
  • Is your diet any different now?
  • Is there anything wrong with you at the moment?
  • Are you getting tired more frequently?
  • Is there anything wrong with your mouth?
  • Do you have difficulty swallowing?
  • If so, have you been nauseous?
  • Are you feeling anxious?

4. What kind of tests can we perform?

Blood work and imaging scans, MRI may be necessary depending on the answers you give to these questions (X-rays, etc.).

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