Diseases That Can Lead To Unexplained Weight Loss

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Cancer

Unexplained weight loss is one of the 15 cancer symptoms that are all too often ignored. There are several types of cancer, such as leukemia, lung, pancreatic, breast, and colon, that are known to lead to unexplained weight loss,” said Eyal Meiri, MD, interim chief of medical oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Atlanta. . . “There are many reasons why weight loss can occur in cancer,” he says. Some cancers cause a faster resting metabolism, burning more calories, while others can produce inflammatory proteins that can lead to weight loss, and others can cause weight loss based on their location in the body. For example, “some cases of pancreatic cancer can occur where the stomach empties so that you feel full quickly, and some esophageal cancers can cause swallowing problems that prevent you from eating and cause weight loss,” he says. “If you have unexplained weight loss of more than 10 percent, something is wrong,” he says. “Seek your internist for an evaluation, as there are many causes of unexplained weight loss that are unrelated to cancer.” Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy often cause a decrease in appetite, and it can lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting and mouth sores that discourage eating, he says.

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Hyperthyroidism

Unexplained weight loss can be a sign of a thyroid disorder such as Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. “Weight loss is usually a constellation of symptoms of Graves’ disease, including palpitations, heat intolerance, hair loss, and insomnia,” says Caroline Korsten Messer, MD, endocrinologist, Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Graves’ disease is one cause of hyperthyroidism, but there are others that can also cause weight loss, she says. “A simple blood test can detect hyperthyroidism,” she says. The good news is that these conditions are all treatable. “Whatever the cause of your hyperthyroidism, there is a treatment that can help reverse the symptoms,” she says. Check out these 13 thyroid facts everyone should know.

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HIV and AIDS

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also known as AIDS, is a chronic, potentially life-threatening disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). “HIV can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients, which causes malnutrition and can lead to a loss of appetite,” says Lisa Ashe, DO, an internist in Washington, DC. HIV/AIDS can also increase the risk of opportunistic infections that cause weight loss, either through loss of appetite or because it is painful to eat. . While there is no cure for HIV or AIDS, there are medications that can dramatically slow the progression of the disease, reduce the risk of infection, and allow you to live an otherwise healthy life.

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