What is Unexplained Weight Loss?
Unexplained weight loss is a noticeable decline in body weight that occurs even if you are not actively trying to lose weight. While it is normal for your body weight to fluctuate regularly, losing too much weight too quickly can be unhealthy and a sign of an underlying condition. Experts consider unexplained weight loss to include weight loss of 10 pounds or more over a span of 6-12 months.
There are many potential causes of unexplained weight loss, which may range from harmless to serious. The causes may be physical or psychological, and may include anything from thyroid problems, undiagnosed eating disorders or diabetes to depression and anxiety. In many cases, unintentional weight loss can be a symptom of an underlying digestive system problem. In these cases, symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain or bloating.
- Chronic constipation.
- Dry mouth and bad breath.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Severe or chronic diarrhea.
- Pale feces or abnormally-smelling stools.
- Mouth sores or painful teeth.
- And more.
If you have experienced unexplained weight loss along with other health symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, dehydration, diarrhea, confusion, difficulty breathing or heart arrhythmias, be sure to seek medical care immediately, as these may be signs of a more serious condition.
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How is Unexplained Weight Loss Diagnosed?
To diagnose the cause of your unintended weight loss, your doctor will perform a physical exam and speak with you regarding your symptoms. He or she will ask you questions regarding your weight loss, your healthy history, your family history and the medications you are currently taking, which will help to determine if further testing such as blood work or imaging scans is needed. Tests may be required to rule out digestive conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers, cancers of the GI tract and more.
Treatment for Unexplained Weight Loss
In order to treat unexplained weight loss, the underlying condition that is causing the weight loss must be identified and treated. Treatment will depend on the specific condition and may involve seeing a specialist in the field of diagnosis. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a dietician for advice and counseling.
Your South Denver GI Team
At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Unexplained Weight Loss or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!
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