Sudden weight loss is a sign that we are aware of possible health problems. In the case of more serious illnesses, weight loss is almost always accompanied by other symptoms. However, in all cases, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Let’s discuss How Much Weight Loss Is Concerning?
Sudden weight loss can be due to a number of reasons, almost always related to health problems. In any case, this is an important sign that should not be ignored and guarantees immediate medical consultation.
In the present age, the subject of body weight has many aesthetic and social implications. Therefore, the first concerning thing to confirm is that there is indeed a sudden weight loss surgery. Sometimes there is only one change in the concept of body image.
In this regard, Dr. George Quiroga Vela, director of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University Clinic of Navarre, states that up to 50% of patients who seek sudden weight loss do not actually experience significant weight loss.
Sudden weight loss
Anytime there is a sudden weight loss, a systemic disease should be suspected. However, before anything else, important or medically relevant parameters of weight loss must be established.
It is not easy to tell when weight loss is concerning. However, there is a parameter on which there is almost complete medical consensus. He says that 5% of body weight loss between 6 and 12 months should be the cause of medical consultation.
Therefore, it does not matter how many kilograms are lost, but what percentage of the total body mass they represent. Thus, a person weighing 100 kg should suspect that if he loses 5 kg in the indicated period then something is wrong. However, in a person weighing 50 kg, the alert figure is 2.5 kg.
It is possible to point out something that may seem obvious at first, but it is concerning and should always be emphasized: weight loss should be unintentional. In other words, the worrying thing is that weight loss occurs without specifying anything to lose weight.
There are many causes for sudden weight loss and in 75% of cases, the cause can be identified. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. Sometimes both factors are present.
It is very common that this sudden weight loss is the result of depression. It is important to analyze whether the person had any previous grief before losing weight, such as death or divorce, or a traumatic event.
There are some diseases in which weight loss precedes other symptoms. This is a matter of digestive system tumors. Also from some infectious diseases such as HIV, endocarditis, tuberculosis, and fungal or parasitic diseases.
Weight loss will be followed by hyperthyroidism or pheochromocytoma, diabetes mellitus, and adrenal insufficiency. Many types of cancer are associated with weight loss, but these cases usually have more symptoms.
Age and weight loss
Age is a factor when analyzing the causes and consequences of weight loss. There are specific stages or situations in which this situation occurs. Let’s see:
- Newborns: It is not uncommon for babies to lose up to 10% of their body weight during the first 15 days of their lives. It is caused by the discharge of fluids through feces or urine. After that, she hopes to gain half a pound a week for 6 months.
- Older people: Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. Muscle mass and bone loss are also common. If it happens suddenly, it indicates health problems.
It is important to note that weight loss often occurs during pregnancy. It occurs in mothers who experience dizziness and vomiting early in pregnancy, and therefore fail to maintain proper nutrition.
Emotional stress is also a common cause of weight loss. High cortisol levels as well as random eating lead to this. Similarly, the forcible use of psychiatric drugs can significantly affect weight.
When should you be concerned?
Fatigue and continuous exhaustion will accompany weight loss.
Percent weight loss = normal weight – current weight / normal weight x 100 is the method for calculating percentage weight loss. The outcome of this algorithm will tell us whether or not the weight loss is serious.
For example, if a person who ordinarily weighs 70 kg loses weight unexpectedly over the last 8 months, his percent of weight loss is calculated as follows: 70 kg – 60 kg / 70 kg x 100 = 14.28 percent, indicating that he has lost more than 10% of his regular weight and that the weight loss is severe.
Other clinical signs to be cautious of include weariness, lack of appetite, change in digestive rhythm, bone pain, enlarged lymph nodes, and increased infection frequency. It is critical to see a doctor in cases such as the flu to identify and prevent complications.
What causes unexpected weight loss (and when should it be a cause for concerning)?
Fatigue and continuous exhaustion will accompany weight loss. This is usually following a stressful scenario such as a job change, divorce, or the death of a loved one.
Weight loss that is not linked to any of these factors, such as changes in eating habits or increased physical activity, could suggest the existence of a condition, such as a thyroid disease. Problems, uncontrolled diabetes, and even cancer are all possibilities.
In this instance, it’s critical to see a general practitioner for a diagnosis and to determine the efficacy of various diagnostic tests that will help you figure out what’s causing your weight loss and, if necessary, what to do about it. Determine the most effective treatment.
What method is used to make the diagnosis?
The severity of losing weight, whether there are any indications or signs, and diagnostic tests such as plasma, urine, or stool testing should all be considered when determining the reason for weight loss. In addition, the test must be requested. For example, an MRI or X-ray to continue the inquiry based on the findings.
In most cases, the first professional to be consulted is a general practitioner or family doctor, and only after the results of the tests must the person be referred to the most appropriate expert, such as an endocrinologist, oncologist, psychiatrist, or nutritionist. Take, for example, the word “can.”
We are aware that being obese is bad for our health. For good reason, healthy lifestyle programs have consistently emphasized the need to maintain a healthy weight. Unexpected weight reduction or weight loss without effort can raise red flags. It can be a sign of something more serious.
A reasonable rule of thumb is to visit your doctor if you have lost a sizable amount of weight more than 5% of your original weight in the preceding six to twelve months. Make a note of any additional symptoms as well so you can discuss them with your doctor.
Keep in mind that not every weight reduction is dangerous. After a stressful or life-altering incident, it may occur. Unintentional weight loss, however, might be a symptom of one of these illnesses.
Physical, psychological, or environmental changes of any severity might result in unexplained weight loss. Your doctor could advise you to put on weight if you have lost weight quickly and without apparent cause. Depending on your health, gaining weight can be difficult.
Frequently Asked Questions
The definition of extreme weight loss is a loss of more than 1 Kg per week over an extended period of time. Your body won’t be able to keep up in such conditions and symptoms will undoubtedly become apparent. On the surface, some of these such as slight hair loss or feeling chilly more often may appear to be harmless.
When your thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid occurs. These hormones regulate a variety of bodily processes, including metabolism. Even if you have a healthy appetite, an overactive thyroid will cause you to burn calories very quickly. Unintentional weight loss may ensue.
Many specialists agree that 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week is a reasonable and safe rate. More rapid weight loss is regarded as unhealthy and could result in a variety of health issues, such as gallstones, nutritional shortages, muscle loss, and slowed metabolism.