Weight loss can be intentional or unintentional, and an illness may be the cause.

Most of the time, people lose weight because they try to cut back on calories or get more active, which causes the pounds to melt away. Sometimes weight loss and loss of appetite happen accidentally. An illness may be the cause if this lasts for a long time or if weight loss occurs despite eating normally.

  • Causes of unwanted weight loss: e.g. B. infections, gastrointestinal diseases, food intolerance, diabetes, tumors, medication, mental illness, alcohol or illegal drugs
  • When to the doctor? If you lose weight over a long period of time for no apparent reason; if additional symptoms such as pain, indigestion, fever, exhaustion etc. occur
  • Treatment: The doctor treats the underlying cause, e.g. B. with medication, surgery or psychotherapy . Regular mealtimes, bitter foods, ginger and plenty of exercise (preferably in the fresh air) can stimulate the appetite.

Weight loss: causes and possible diseases

When a person expends more calories than he consumes, he loses weight. Losing weight is frequently a deliberate action, with many people changing their diet to include more low-calorie foods and increasing their physical activity.

Lovesickness, stress, or a looming infection can all be factors in unintentional weight loss. Usually it is only one to two kilos, but in old age a lack of appetite is not uncommon due to reduced muscle mass and slower stomach empties.

Weight loss in older people is also often due to the fact that they eat little due to tooth loss or ill-fitting dentures. Unwanted weight loss can also be due to illnesses, medication or addictive substances.


Infectious diseases can lead to weight loss due to reduced appetite, exhaustion, and poor performance, which can be a sign of something is wrong in the body.

Food allergies and intolerances

Food allergies and intolerances, such as lactose intolerance (also called “milk sugar intolerance”), can cause weight loss. When “critical” foods are eaten, they often cause severe symptoms like nausea, gas, and stomach pain. Because of this fear, many people with this condition don’t eat at all if there isn’t anything they can handle.

In the case of some intolerances, there is also the fact that the body can only partially process the ingested food. This is the case, for example, with an intolerance to gluten ( celiac disease ).

Other diseases of the digestive tract

Infections of the digestive tract, ulcers, gastritis, and pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas, can all result in nausea and/or abdominal pain. Those who are affected may feel much less of an urge to eat as a result.

In some illnesses, the body’s ability to absorb nutrients through the intestines is compromised ( malabsorption ). For instance, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and diarrheal illnesses fit this description.

diseases of other organs

Other organ diseases can also make you lose your appetite, which can lead to weight loss you didn’t want. This is true, for instance, of liver cirrhosis, kidney weakness (renal insufficiency), bile duct obstruction, and Addison’s disease of the adrenal glands.

metabolic diseases

Weight loss can also be caused by metabolic disorders like hyperthyroidism ( overactive thyroid gland ). Due to excessive hormone production, the metabolism speeds up, leading to a sharp increase in caloric intake and unintentional weight loss in those who are affected despite maintaining their eating habits.

If their blood sugar levels are not well controlled, people with type 1 diabetes lose weight. Because of a problem with how their immune system works, their pancreas either doesn’t make any insulin or makes too little insulin. Body cells cannot absorb the high-energy blood sugar if this hormone is absent. The body then has to rely on the fat reserves to provide it with the energy it requires.


Cancer is often accompanied by weight loss that can’t be explained. This is usually because the body’s nutrients are being taken away by the tumors. Doctors sometimes refer to this as “consuming diseases”.

Mental illness

Mental illnesses can lead to weight loss and weight gain, but in the case of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, it can also lead to weight gain. Anorexia sufferers have to fight hunger and exercise excessively, while bulimics succumb to binge eating and vomiting in a targeted manner to prevent them from gaining weight. Sometimes bulimics lose weight as a result.

medicines and drugs

Medications can spoil appetite, leading to weight loss and malnutrition. This can also occur in people who use drugs, such as alcohol, which contains many calories. Alcoholics cover their energy needs with empty calories, leading to malnutrition and weight loss.


Author: DoctorMaryam.org

4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

2 thoughts on “Weight loss can be intentional or unintentional, and an illness may be the cause.”

  1. There are many reasons why someone might want to lose weight, but some of the most common are due to diet, exercise, or some other disease. If someone is not eating properly or is not getting enough exercise, they may end up losing weight unintentionally.

    Liked by 1 person

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