Could Your Recent Loss Of Weight Be A Warning Sign Of Something Serious?
In American culture, "thin" has long been "in," so most people are pleased when they step on the scale and find out that they've dropped a few pounds.
However, a rapid weight loss or even a slow, steady decline in your weight for no apparent reason can actually be a cause for concern, medically. Unless you're dieting or making other lifestyle changes that have likely lead to your weight loss, you may want to schedule a visit to your primary care physician for a checkup.
What kind of medical problems cause unintentional weight loss? Here are some top contenders:
An Overactive Thyroid
One of the most common culprits is hyperthyroidism. Your thyroid gland is responsible for regulating a number of your body's mechanical systems, including your metabolism. An overactive thyroid can increase the number of calories you're burning doing your ordinary daily activities and can cause other problems like anxiety, tremors, sweating, and an irregular heartbeat.
High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, or diabetes, can also cause weight loss. Although type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight, type 1 diabetes can cause someone to rapidly lose weight because the victim's body stops producing insulin. The lack of insulin makes it impossible for the diabetic to absorb glucose (sugar) — which means the calories in that glucose are lost as well.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is associated with high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol — but once it begins to progress, the victim tends to lose weight. Usually, the congestion in the victim's lungs and the lack of circulation in the digestive system can make the victim feel uncomfortably full even after eating just a few bites. In turn, that often causes rapid weight loss.
Inflammatory Bowel Disorders
There are a number of different disorders of the digestive system that fall under the category of "inflammatory bowel" disease. One of the most common people hear about today is Celiac disease, which is a gluten intolerance or allergy that makes it difficult for victims to absorb nutrients from certain grains. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are both disorders of the intestines that make it hard to process different nutrients and lead to chronic diarrhea which, in turn, causes weight loss.
Depression or Anxiety
While a lot of people think of depression and anxiety as mental health conditions, the reality is that they're largely biochemical disorders. While temporary depression might result from a recent loss (like a death in the family) or anxiety might surround a specific situation (like an upcoming meeting with your boss), chronic depression and anxiety can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Both can cause someone to stop eating and lead to weight loss.
If you're experiencing unintentional weight loss, talk to your primary care physician today. You may be overlooking a serious problem that's treatable if it is caught early.