Unexplained weight loss or weight loss without effort can be concerning. This could be a symptom of something else. Find a doctor if you’ve dropped more than 5% of your body weight in 6-12 months. Also, note any other symptoms to discuss with your doctor.
1. Addison’s Disease
It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands can’t produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol controls metabolism and appetite. Low cortisol levels might cause a loss of appetite. Addison’s disease symptoms include:
- chronic fatigue
- low blood pressure
- muscle weakness
- salt cravings
2. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Congestive heart failure causes weight loss. CHF occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood or cannot fill up with adequate blood. It can affect one or both heart sides. With CHF, your digestive tract lacks blood flow. Nausea and early fullness can occur. It’s also possible to choke when eating.
Unintentional weight loss occurs due to inflammation in injured cardiac tissue. Other CHF symptoms:
- fast heart rate
- persistent coughing
- shortness of breath
3. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a progressive lung disease. For example, chronic bronchitis. Many COPD patients have both. Emphysema damages the air sacs in the lungs, making breathing difficult. Chronic bronchitis causes inflammation of the lungs’ airways. This causes coughing and mucus.
COPD is mild in its early stages. While some individuals may not exhibit symptoms, the following may:
- chest tightness
- mild coughing, with or without mucus
- shortness of breath
COPD might result in weight loss in its later stages. Strenuous breathing consumes a significant amount of calories. Additionally, eating and breathing at the same time can be uncomfortable. Additionally, severe COPD symptoms include the following:
- low muscle endurance
- swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of COPD. COPD can also be caused by prolonged exposure to irritants such as air pollution and dust.
Depression is described as a state of sadness, loss, or emptiness that lasts at least two weeks. These feelings disrupt daily tasks like work or school. Depression impacts the brain regions that regulate hunger. This can cause a lack of appetite and weight.
Depression might boost appetite. Symptoms differ across individuals. Other signs of depression:
- constant sadness
- loss of interest in hobbies
- low energy
- poor concentration
- sleeping too little or too much
- thoughts of death or suicide
Type 1 diabetes also causes undesirable weight loss. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Your body cannot use glucose without insulin. This raises blood sugar.
Your kidneys excrete glucose in urine. The same goes for calories. Diabetes 1 also causes:
- blurry vision
- excessive hunger
- excessive thirst
- frequent urination
6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Unexpected weight loss may be a sign of IBD. IBD refers to a group of chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal illnesses. Types include Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Chronic IBD inflammation puts your body in a catabolic condition, continually sucking up energy. IBD affects ghrelin (hunger hormone) and leptin (satiation hormone). This reduces hunger and aids weight loss. Symptoms include:
- bloody stools
- stomach pain
Certain foods can elicit these effects. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, you may be hesitant to eat.
7. Muscle Loss
Muscle loss might cause unexpected weight loss. It causes muscle weakness. Your limb may appear smaller than the other. Your body is made up of fat, fat-free mass, muscle, bone, and water. Muscle loss leads to weight loss.
This can happen if you don’t engage your muscles. It affects those who don’t exercise, sit all day, or are bedridden. Exercise and nutrition may usually reverse muscle loss. Muscle loss can also be caused by:
- injuries, such as broken bones
- multiple sclerosis
- nerve damage
- rheumatoid arthritis
When the thyroid gland generates an abnormal amount of thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism ensues. Hormones regulate several bodily activities, including metabolism. If your thyroid is overactive, you’ll burn calories even if you’re hungry. Unintentional weight loss can occur. Other symptoms:
- fast, irregular heart rate
- hand tremors
- heat intolerance
- light periods in women
- sleep troubles
Among the possible causes of hyperthyroidism are the following:
- eating too much iodine
- Graves’ disease
- taking too much thyroid medicine
9. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory illness that causes inflammation in the joint lining. Inflammation can boost metabolism and help you lose weight.
RA causes joint swelling and discomfort. Both sides of your body frequently suffer from it. If you have RA, sitting for an hour or more might make your joints stiff.
RA has no recognized cause. Maybe related to:
- hormonal changes
- secondhand smoking
10. Tuberculosis (TB)
TB, a contagious disease that generally affects the lungs, can also cause unexplained weight loss. Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it. TB causes weight loss and decreased appetite, but the reasons are unknown.
TB spreads by air. TB can cause no symptoms. If your immune system defeats it, the germs die. That’s latent TB. It can develop into active TB. Symptoms:
- A severe cough that lasts three weeks or more
- chest pain
- coughing up blood or phlegm
- night sweats
Certain individuals are at risk of developing active tuberculosis. This comprises those who have a weakened immune system, particularly those who have:
- Hodgkin’s disease
- low body weight
- organ transplant
- substance use disorder
It’s common to vary in weight. But if you’re losing weight without changing your habits, something’s up. If you lose 5% of your body weight in 6-12 months or observe any of the aforementioned symptoms,do find doctor.