Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss can be intentional or unintentional, and unintentional weight loss is a symptom that requires medical evaluation, due to the presence of medical conditions that can cause these symptoms.
Severe and unintentional weight loss in adults and children is often due to a physical cause that may be life-threatening in some cases, and unintentional weight loss in the body requires a medical examination.
Intentional weight loss
Intentional weight loss is especially common among overweight people who are trying to reduce their body weight, and requires reducing the amount of calories consumed while increasing the body's energy expenditure through physical activity.
The recommended way to reduce weight for overweight people is to combine a low-calorie diet with increased exercise. It is also recommended to consult with a nutritionist to suit the weight reduction program including a balanced diet with a change in eating habits and physical activity.
Symptoms of unexplained weight loss
The weight loss that the patient feels is the main and direct symptom of the disease, but the patient may face some other symptoms that depend on the cause, such as:
Digestive problems and disorders.
Causes and risk factors for unexplained weight loss
The causes of unintended weight loss can generally be categorized into reasons related to a decrease in the amount of calories consumed in food, damage to the food absorption mechanisms in the digestive system, or the body's consumption of large amounts of energy.
Among the main factors that lead to weight loss are the following:
1. Physical causes of anorexia
The reasons are many and varied, the most important of which are:
Infectious diseases of the digestive system.
Other infectious diseases, such as: Pneumonia.
Chronic infectious diseases, such as: AIDS, tuberculosis, and endocarditis.
Diseases that affect metabolism in the body, such as uremia and diabetes.
Right-sided congestive heart failure can also be a symptom of unintentional weight loss.
Taking chemotherapy drugs causes decreased appetite and weight loss.
2. Psychological reasons for weight loss
Psychological reasons that may lead to weight loss include:
Anorexia nervosa: Anorexia nervosa occurs in girls in adolescence, and its prevalence among this group is estimated at 1% - 2%.
Bulimia nervosa: In bulimia nervosa, the patient consumes a large amount of food in a short period and then resorts to getting rid of it.
Clinical depression: Clinical depression is the most common cause of weight loss, accounting for about 10% of weight loss in this age group.
3. Swallowing disorders
Swallowing disorders may be the cause of decreased calorie intake and weight loss. These disorders have different sources, such as:
Painful ulcers in the oral cavity.
Soreness in the throat while swallowing, such as: Laryngitis.
Oesophageal obstruction, for example, due to a tumor.
Esophageal motility disorder.
Illnesses that cause vomiting lead to a decrease in food consumption and weight loss.
Most malignant diseases, such as gastrointestinal tumors, or other metastatic tumors also contribute to anorexia and weight loss.
Among the elderly, for example, a malignant disease is usually diagnosed in 20% of patients who complain of severe weight loss, and in fact, the first symptom that indicates the presence of disease in many malignant tumors is unintentional weight loss, for example: the most common cancer that is manifested by weight loss Before any other symptoms appear, it is cancer whose source is in the digestive system, especially colon cancer.
Malignant diseases of the liver, pancreas as well as lymphoma and leukemia all cause a sharp decrease in body weight.
The reason for the decrease in body weight in malignant diseases is apparently a combination of reduced appetite, and an increase in the amount of energy consumed by the body.
Another disease that causes weight loss due to increased body energy consumption is hyperthyroidism.
Complications of unexplained weight loss
Among the most prominent complications of unjustified weight loss are the following:
Increased risk of infection, especially in children.
Increased risk of loss of life.
Diagnosis of unexplained weight loss
Weight loss is a condition that requires examination by a doctor. This examination should include the following:
A detailed study of the patient's medical history.
A thorough physical examination including measurement of height and weight.
Conducting laboratory tests, such as: blood and urine tests.
Imaging tests, such as: X-rays sometimes if other symptoms appear and according to the patient's medical history, and for a physical examination.
Unexplained weight loss treatment
Unexplained weight loss is treated as follows:
1. Treatment of the pathogen
Unexplained weight loss is treated by identifying the underlying condition or disease that is causing the weight loss.
If the cause is not immediately identified, your doctor may recommend a wait and watch approach, along with a special diet.
For example, your doctor may recommend using supplements to get more calories, or adding flavor enhancers to your food to improve taste so that you eat more.
The patient may be referred to a dietician for advice.
Prevention of unexplained weight loss
There are no proven ways to reduce the chances of unexplained weight loss, but directly treating the causes of unexplained weight loss may contribute to a significant reduction in weight loss.
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