When we talk about weight loss we refer to a significant weight loss without having a precise reason to lose weight and without the subject implementing strategies or following diets to lose their body weight.
Fluctuations in body weight may occur, as in the case of water retention, in which there is a rapid weight gain and sudden weight loss within just a few days, but sometimes the weight loss continues for longer periods and in in these cases there is no longer a loss of liquids alone, but a real decrease in body muscle mass.
The latter is a situation that deserves more attention because the underlying causes can be very serious.
Very often, when you lose weight quickly and for no apparent reason, there is a danger that this is the warning sign of a systemic disease that can have quite serious implications.
It is therefore recommended, in case of weight loss , not to underestimate the situation, to keep a personal diary in which to note the changes on a regular basis, in order to facilitate understanding of the problem, to talk to your doctor and to undergo to adequate investigations on the recommendation of a specialist doctor.

What are the causes of weight loss
A major weight lossIt is a phenomenon to always keep under observation, but this condition must not always create alarmism or instill a state of anxiety because the cause could only be attributed to stress factors, bad lifestyle habits or economic and social problems. All factors that once corrected or eliminated bring the subject back to restore their weight and general health.

When to worry You may be concerned when weight loss is equal to or greater than 5% of body mass and when this drop occurs in a sudden and unjustified manner.
The possible causesthey are numerous and differ according to age, sex, the presence of metabolic and systemic diseases, and again as a consequence of tumors.
Generally in younger subjects psychiatric factors (anorexia nervosa), metabolic and systemic factors (diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism) and infectious factors (weight loss is very frequent in people affected by the HIV virus that causes AIDS), but also in subjects infested with parasites). Anorexia
is one of the most common causes of weight loss in the youth population which causes loss of appetite and the absence of the normal feeling of hunger that should push the subject to eat food. Hyperthyroidism _causes consistent weight loss because thyroid hormones elevate cellular metabolism prompting the body to burn more. Depressive states, gastrointestinal diseases, malabsorption and tumors
are considered in older subjects .
The neoplasms that affect the gastrointestinal organs and the lungs are those that lead to greater weight loss and generally alarm the subject at an early stage. Cachexia is one of
the most common conditions that occur in the case of cancer. It is an impairment of the general state of health which is characterized by: consistent reduction of muscle mass, skin thinning and general wasting of the subject.
Among the possible causes , however, neurological diseases (Parkinson’s, dementia, stroke), decreased sense of taste and smell following trauma or aging, alcoholism, kidney diseases, heart diseases and some forms of anemia must also be taken into account. . Finally, weight loss may also occur following the intake of certain categories of drugs (ACE inhibitors, antibiotics, NSAIDs …).
There are also completely physiological weight loss phenomena, as in the case of the weight loss of the newbornin its first 3-4 days of life. After birth, infants lose weight which can lead to a 10% drop in body weight. In any case, any kind of advice and evaluation is referred to a pediatric doctor.
How to diagnose the cause of sudden weight loss

How to diagnose
The diagnostic investigations must be addressed and carried out only by a doctor, who will evaluate the causes at the origin of the weight loss . However, the patient’s collaboration is useful, especially if he has kept a diary in which weight changes in the previous weeks or months are recorded.
If, on the other hand, the patient has not noted the differences in weight, he generally asks himself if there have been variations in the clothing, if the clothes fit looser and if the belt had to be tightened. These questions are asked to assess whether the weight loss is real or if it is just an impression of the subject.
During the medical history phase, the doctor collects all useful information about the patient’s lifestyle and habits: if he has had febrile episodes, if he experiences a continuous feeling of tiredness, if he feels pain, if he has cough, if he has respiratory difficulties.
It is evaluated if he suffers from neurological disorders, if he has difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), if he experiences a persistent feeling of nausea, if he takes drugs, if you smoke and if you consume alcohol. And the clinical history of both the patient and his family is also evaluated. All the influencing factors on weight loss are then investigated.
He also wonders if the patient has recently traveled to exotic locations to assess whether there is danger he may have been affected by parasites.
During the actual physical examination, the patient’s general state of health is assessed. We proceed to weigh the subject and take the vital parameters, then measure the pressure and heart rate . The skin is also observed, evaluating the color (pallor, yellowing in case of jaundice, redness in case of edema and signs of scars to check if it has undergone surgery).
They then look for signs of systemic diseases and then auscultation of the heart and lungs is carried out, palpation of the abdomen, swelling of the glands in the neck (adenopathies), the presence of mycosis on the mucous membranes (such as candidiasis) oral) and any dental diseases. Finally, the doctor ascertains whether particular neurological and psychiatric factors exist by administering specific tests.
Once the necessary signs have been collected, the doctor can proceed by indicating blood and urine tests to evaluate the electrolyte values, hormone levels, tumor markers and the presence of viruses (especially HIV). It is also possible to further investigate the clinical status of the subject by means of instrumental diagnostics such as CT scan of the abdomen and thorax and Magnetic Resonance.
There are effective therapies currently.

There are effective therapies
. The subject who experiences weight loss must seek the attention and control of a specialist doctor as, as we have seen, it may be the manifestation of an underlying disease of clinical relevance.
After evaluating the patient’s condition and carrying out an accurate diagnostic investigation, the doctor will indicate the most appropriate therapeutic strategy for each individual case.
In milder cases, therapies are limited to stimulating appetite and increasing body weight, correcting the person’s bad habits, and administering particular diets. In cases of more serious clinical interest, on the other hand, hormonal pharmacological therapies (as in the case of growth hormone) and therapies that treat the systemic pathology that cause weight loss are prescribed .
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