Weight loss/Unintentional

Also Known As: lose weight/Unintentional, Unintentional weight loss, Weight loss/Unintentional, Weight loss pathological, losing weight/Unintentional

This study will provide information on people who are losing weight and trying to gain it back. When it is a side effect of a medication, stoping the medication usually reverses the effects.

Unintentional weight loss occurs in many diseases and conditions, including some very serious diseases such as cancer, AIDS. It also occurs commonly as a side effect of medications or stress.

Infections such as HIV may alter metabolism, leading to weight loss.[2]

Hormonal disruptions, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), may also exhibit as weight loss.[3]

One cutoff value of where unintentional weight loss is of significant concern is where there's a weight loss of more than 5% in the past month, or at least 10% during the last 6 months.[4]

Common causes of unintentional weight loss

  • Starvation, a state of extreme hunger resulting from lack of essential nutrients over a prolonged period.
  • Cancer, a very common and sometimes fatal cause of unexplained (idiopathic) weight loss. About one-third of unintentional weight loss cases are secondary to malignancy. Cancers to suspect in patients with unexplained weight loss include gastrointestinal, prostate, hepatobillary (hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic cancer), ovarian, hematologic or lung malignancies.
  • AIDS can cause weight loss and should be suspected in high-risk individuals presenting with weight loss.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders are another common cause of unexplained weight loss - in fact they are the most common non-cancerous cause of idiopathic weight loss. Possible gastrointestinal etiologies of unexplained weight loss are celiac disease, peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease (crohns disease and ulcerative colitis), pancreatitis, gastritis, diarrhea and many other GI conditions can cause weight loss.
  • Infection. Some infectious diseases can cause weight loss. These include fungal illness, endocarditis, many parasitic diseases, AIDS, and some other sub-acute or occult infections may cause weight loss.
  • Renal disease. Patients who have uremia often have poor or absent appetite, emesis and nausea. This can cause weight loss.
  • Cardiac disease. Cardiovascular disease, especially congestive heart failure, may cause unexplained weight loss.
  • Pulmonary disease.
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Neurologic disease, including dementia[5]
  • In some people, certain medications may cause weight loss as a side effect.
  • Stress can cause weight loss. However recent research (Jastebott, Potenza et al. 2010) shows a correlation between obesity and high levels of stress.[6]

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