Weight balance is a criterion of good health. Any rapid weight gain or loss should therefore alert, especially if you have not changed your eating habits. This sudden change can indeed be the harbinger of a body dysfunction or illness. But as thinness is praised in our society, complaining about melting like snow in the sun is almost taboo.
The medical profession considers that weight loss is pathological when you lose 5% of your weight in less than 6 months or 10% of your weight in less than a year, or 5.5 pounds for a woman of 55 pounds for example.
Psychic causes in almost half of the cases
” Depression often results in a disturbance in appetite,” notes Dr. William de Carvalho, psychiatrist in Paris. If some depressed people take refuge in food, others lose the pleasure of eating. Food appears tasteless to them and the very idea of having to eat becomes an insurmountable chore. Hence a sudden weight loss which increases the feeling of immense fatigue characteristic of depression.
A stress excessive appetite and also refreine alters fat storage. This is why some women lose a lot of weight after giving birth , between baby crying, disruption of family balance, lack of sleep and resumption of work to be managed. Result: they are thinner than before pregnancy, while the majority of women keep 0.4 to 3 extra pounds until 12 months after birth.
The manifestation of a digestive or infectious disease
Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis frequently lead to weight loss because transit is accelerated (diarrhea) and nutrients poorly absorbed from the intestine. In children, growth retardation and puberty are even observed. A gastric ulcer also induces a melting on the scales because of the pain and loss of appetite it causes.
Unexplained weight loss can also testify to a viral or bacterial infection ( hepatitis, tuberculosis , pneumonia, HIV, etc.). It also sometimes results from the presence of an intestinal parasite brought back from a trip abroad, such as the tænia, which causes the weight to drop despite the serious increase in appetite.
Possible hormonal dysfunction
An insulin-dependent diabetes is often manifested by weight loss and severe dehydration, which grows to drink a lot and increase the volume of urine. A dysregulation of the thyroid gland also has repercussions on weight. If it works in slow motion (hypothyroidism), “we tend to gain a little weight despite a moderate appetite,” says Dr. Pierre Nys, endocrinologist author of The IG Thyroid diet (ed. Leduc.s). Conversely, when it gets carried away (hyperthyroidism), the overflow of hormones triggers excessive metabolic reactions: the heart panics, the sweat glands produce too much sweat, transit accelerates, etc. Suddenly, “you lose weight even when you eat more than usual,” says Dr. Nys.
An indicator of cancer
One of the first symptoms of cancer is sudden weight loss . In fact, 4 out of ten people diagnosed report significant weight loss in the previous months. A British study, from the University of Oxford, moreover proved in April 2018 this frequent link. By compiling medical data from 11.5 million patients, the researchers established that weight loss was associated with the occurrence of ten types of cancer: that of the lungs , the kidney, the pancreas, the stomach, colon , gall bladder, ovary , prostate as well as myeloma and lymphoma non-Hodgkin.
It is therefore better not to take the situation lightly. In the event of unplanned substantial weight loss, make an appointment quickly with your attending physician so that he can objectively assess your weight loss, determine the cause and refer you to the most suitable specialist.
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