Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained Weight Loss

Find Relief from Unexplained Weight Loss

Most individuals are aware of the consequences of rapid weight gain. Still, unexplained weight loss is a clear sign that an individual’s health is in jeopardy or a concerning underlying medical condition. Weight loss and gain in response to stressful events, seasonal changes, or other life events are expected. The clinical professionals at Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology Associates can help Colorado patients experiencing unexplained weight loss. We highly recommend seeking professional assistance if you notice rapid weight loss without a clear explanation. Our team will work with you to identify the root of the issue while providing effective treatment plans. Reach out and schedule an appointment to find relief.

What is Unexplained Weight Loss?

Unexplained weight loss is when a noticeable drop in weight occurs. It’s especially noticeable if the issue isn’t attempting to lose weight. This weight loss is not due to diet, exercise, or lifestyle changes in these circumstances. Weight loss of 10 pounds or more, or five percent of your total body weight over a period of six to twelve months, is considered unexplained. This rapid weight loss can result from a severe condition or illness. Anyone is at risk of suffering from unexplained weight loss. However, older adults, 65 plus, are more susceptible and likely to suffer. Losing less than five percent of your body weight could indicate a more serious and concerning condition. If you experience this form of rapid weight loss, we highly recommend seeking the expert opinion of a qualified medical professional.

What Are Some Causes of Unexplained Weight Loss?

There are several causes for unexplained weight loss, medical and non-medical. It’s not uncommon for a combination of complications to create a decline in your overall health while creating unexplained weight loss. The causes can range from mild to concerning. Along with the causes, unexplained weight loss symptoms often coincide with other medical issues. Our trained clinical staff will discover the root of the issue and offer safe and effective treatments. Here are some additional causes of unexplained weight loss, including:

  • Hyperthyroidism – This occurs when your thyroid gland produces more hormones than required. The hormones produced help regular your metabolism, meaning an excess of these hormones can cause your body to burn more calories leading to weight loss.
  • Underactive Thyroid Gland – An underactive thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Usually, this issue causes weight gain, but there are a few instances in which it causes unexplained weight loss.
  • Cancer – Cancer symptoms vary depending on the type, stage, and location of the cancer. Unexplained weight loss is a common sign of cancer. This symptom is common in lung cancer and other cancers that affect your digestive tract, including pancreatic, colorectal, liver, and stomach.
  • Crohn’s Disease – This affects your autoimmune system, which causes your body to wrongly attack healthy tissue.
  • Heart Failure – Patients who are experiencing heart failure often experience unexplained weight loss. Heart failure causes blood to back into the liver and intestines, leading to nausea and decreased appetite.
  • Addison’s Disease – An adrenal insufficiency occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough specific hormones. Addison’s disease can affect anyone and can be life-threatening. One of the most significant symptoms of this disease is unexplained weight loss.
  • Parkinson’s Disease – Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable and unintended shaking and stiffness. Symptoms usually worsen over time.
  • AIDS – This virus attacks the body’s immune system. AIDs can also lead to AIDs wasting syndrome, in which they lose at least 10% of their body weight.
  • Ulcerative Colitis – This is a form of inflammatory bowel disease found explicitly in the large intestine. One of the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis is weight loss, specifically if left untreated. Ulcerative colitis makes it harder for your body to absorb nutrients.
  • Depression or Anxiety – These disorders lead to loss of appetite and panic, and hopelessness. While unexplained weight loss with these disorders is uncommon, we recommend consulting a professional.
  • Celiac Disease – Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten. This disease can lead to malnutrition meaning your intestines cannot absorb enough nutrients. Untreated celiac disease can result in unexplained weight loss.
  • Diabetes – This chronic health condition affects how your body turns food into energy your body needs. When your body doesn’t create enough insulin or can’t use it, this could lead to heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. When this occurs, your body compensates for burning fat and muscle at a rapid pace.
  • Swelling of the Pancreas – Also known as pancreatitis, patients with chronic pancreatitis often lose weight while their appetite and eating habits remain the same. The unexplained weight loss results from your body not creating enough pancreatic enzymes to digest food properly.
  • And More

When Should You Seek Help?

It’s normal for body weight to fluctuate as you age or result from specific actions such as diets or exercise. You should contact a medical professional if you love more than five percent of your baseline body weight within 6-12 months. This is especially true if you haven’t changed your diet or started exercise routines. We recommend reaching out immediately if you have any other symptoms along with unexplained weight loss.

Is Unexplained Weight Loss More Common In Men or Women?

While everyone can be affected by unexplained weight loss, a recent study found that women between 25 and older have a significantly higher risk of Crohn’s disease than men. While after 45 years of age, men have a higher risk of suffering from ulcerative colitis than women. Unexplained weight loss is always due to some other medical concern, so it depends on the underlying complication. Discussing potential concerns with a medical professional is always recommended if you’re unsure.

Our Diagnosis Techniques

Diagnosing unexplained weight loss is done through various tests and questions. We’ll always start with a thorough physical examination and a series of questions. These questions give our providers additional information and insight into what may be causing these issues. Depending on the results, we may require additional tests, including blood tests, hormone panels, imaging scans like X-rays, and more. Our goal is to eliminate causes or discover the root of the issue. Here are the types of questions our professionals may ask:

  • How Much Weight Have You Lost?
  • When Did This Begin?
  • Are You Taking Any Medications?
  • Have You Changed Your Eating Habits?
  • Have You Started to Exercise?
  • Have You or Someone In Your House Been Sick Lately?
  • Do You Feel Tired More Often?
  • Have You Been Vomiting?
  • Are You Experiencing Stress?
  • Have You Experienced Any Fainting Episodes? If so, When?
  • Do You Have Increased Thirst?
  • Do you Have Diarrhea?
  • How Much Alcohol Are You Consuming?

Explore Our Unexplained Weight Loss Treatments

The best treatment available for unexplained weight is identifying the underlying condition or illness causing the issue. The tests we performed will rule out or identify gastrointestinal concerns. Still, if no underlying condition is identified, trying a special diet and waiting and seeing if it changes anything may be recommended. Depending on the results of any imaging or blood tests, we may recommend seeking the assistance of other specialists.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

While it’s normal for an individual’s weight to fluctuate, significant weight loss in a short time is concerning. Unexplained weight loss often indicates a more severe and concerning underlying condition. The clinical professionals at Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology Associates are committed to helping you identify the condition while providing the necessary treatment to find relief. Don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you to ensure you get the treatment and care you deserve.

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