Losing weight is generally a good thing if you are obese, but sudden weight loss can also be a cause for concern. Unexplained or unintentional weight loss is often a sign of an underlying medical problem. If you have experienced rapid weight loss without trying, probably it’s time to worry about your health condition – and see a doctor!
How much weight loss is concerning depends on a number of factors, including your age, health history, calorie intake, ability to absorb nutrients from foods, activities, and how quickly the weight is lost. Generally speaking, losing more than 5% of your body weight in a 6-12 month period without trying is concerning for an adult. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing more than 10 pounds within a year is considered to worry about.
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When To Worry About Weight Loss
Being overweight can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and joint pain. And people strive to keep their weight at recommended BMI to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. However, it is important to remember that not all weight loss is healthy. There could be some unexpected alarming situations.
Sudden or rapid weight loss can be a cause for concern, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms. If you are losing weight without trying, or if you are losing more than 2 pounds per week, it’s time to worry about your weight loss and speak to a doctor.
In some cases, weight loss may be normal, such as during pregnancy, after delivery, or after starting a new exercise regimen.
Below are the alarming weight loss symptoms;
- Shortness of breath
- Chances of developing gallstones
- Electrolyte imbalance
Note: if you are on a rapid weight loss diet, make sure to monitor your health closely for any concerning symptoms.
Why Am I Losing Weight Without Trying?
If you are experiencing drastic weight loss without changing your diet or exercise habits, it could be a sign of a medical condition. Below are a few potential causes of unintentional weight loss;
- Underlying infection
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problem
- Sleep deprivation
- Change in routine
- Changes in hormone
- Gastrointestinal issues
If you are concerned about recent weight loss, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. They may order tests (such as blood tests, CT scan, MRI, or endoscopy) to help identify the cause of the weight loss and develop a treatment plan. Unintentional or severe weight loss can have serious health consequences, so you should seek medical attention soonest!
In some cases, intentional weight loss may be recommended as part of the treatment plan. However, it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a healthy weight loss plan that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Read the benefits of losing weight in a healthy way!
Why Am I Losing Weight But Eating More?
If you are losing weight but eating more, there could be a few potential causes. One possibility is that your body is going through changes that make it more difficult to absorb nutrients from food. Another possibility is that you have an infection or other medical condition that is causing your body to burn more calories than usual. If you are concerned about recent weight loss, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Side Effects Of Losing Weight Too Fast
Losing 1-2 pounds per week is considered healthy. Any weight loss more than that is considered extreme weight loss. And if you are reducing more than 2 pounds per week without putting effort, it can lead to serious health conditions.
The risks of losing weight too fast include;
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Muscle loss
- Reduced metabolism
- Hair loss
- Itchy skin
Losing weight too quickly can also lead to rebound weight gain. When you lose weight quickly, your body goes into “starvation mode.” Your body starts to hold on to fat stores and burn muscle for energy. Once you start eating again, your body will quickly regain the weight because it thinks it is going to be starved again.
What Medications Can Cause Unintentional Weight Loss
Weight loss can be an intentional effort to improve one’s health and appearance, but it can also be an unintentional side effect of certain medications. This is because some drugs can affect the body’s ability to absorb food, while others may cause vomiting or diarrhea.
Some of these medications include those used to treat depression, diabetes, heart disease, and psychiatric conditions. Also, some cancer treatments can also lead to weight loss as well.
In addition, there are some weight-loss drugs that are specifically designed to help people lose weight. These medications typically work by suppressing appetite or increasing metabolism.
If you are taking a medication that is causing unintentional weight loss, talk to your doctor about whether switching to another drug might be appropriate.
Unintentional weight loss is a state to worry and if you lose more than 5% of your body weight within 6 to 12 months without trying, it is concerning. It could be for many reasons including stress, heart disease, cancer, medications, or sleep deprivation. It is advised to speak to your doctor about such rapid and unexpected weight loss. They will help to identify any underlying causes and develop a treatment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)
When should you worry about weight loss?
If you are experiencing rapid weight loss unintentionally and unexpectedly, you should worry and speak to your doctor as soon as possible. This is because unintentional weight loss can have serious health consequences.
What is the most common cause of unexplained weight loss?
The most common cause of unexplained weight loss is stress. However, other causes may include heart disease, cancer, medications, or sleep deprivation.
How much weight loss is unsafe in a month?
Losing more than 2 pounds per week without trying is unsafe and considered extreme weight loss and can lead to serious health conditions.
What type of cancers cause weight loss?
There are many types of cancers that can cause weight loss, including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer.
Can stress cause rapid weight loss?
Stress is the most common cause of rapid weight loss. When you are stressed, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This causes your body to release hormones that can lead to weight loss.
How much weight loss is concerning for cancer?
Cancer-related weight loss is concerning. The change in weight that prefix cancer symptom is about losing 10 pounds in a short span of time without trying to lose intentionally.