Cause and Diagnosis of Sudden Rapid Weight Loss

Posted by MediBuddy on May 21st, 2021

Sudden weight loss is a cause for concern. It is best to see your doctor regularly, get a RBS Test done and stay updated with your body weight. If you’ve lost a significant amount of your body weight within a few months, you must take note and speak to your doctor about it at the earliest.

You must also remember, not all weight loss is serious. It can happen as a result of life-changing or stressful event. Weight loss can also be intentional, if you are dieting, if you regularly workout and follow intense exercises, you know the reason behind your weight loss. It can also be a result of prolonged use of medicines due to any illness.

Weight loss can happen if your body fluid, muscle mass, or fat decreases at a high rate. A decrease in body fluid takes place if you are on medications due to diabetes. Before assuming the reasons of your unexplained, unintentional weight loss, you should talk to doctor to evaluate your condition.

Let’s look at the rapid weight loss causes:

1. Muscle loss

Muscle loss can lead to unexpected and drastic weight loss. The major symptom you will notice is muscle and overall weakness. Your body is made of fat mass and fat-free mass, which includes muscle, bone and water. You must be active and use muscles for daily activities. People who don’t exercise, sit for long hours or are bedridden will be more prone to weight loss. Generally, exercise and proper nutrition will reverse muscle loss. If you are suffering from injuries, such as broken bones, aging, stroke, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis or any kind of nerve damage, it could affect your weight.

2. Overactive thyroid

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, develops when your thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. These control many functions in the body, including metabolism. If your thyroid is overactive, you’ll likely burn calories very fast. The result can be unintended weight loss. Other symptoms include, fast, irregular heart rate, anxiety, fatigue, heat intolerance, sleep disturbances, light periods in women, etc. The possible causes of hyperthyroidism may be Graves’ disease, thyroiditis, too much iodine consumption and continued too much thyroid medicine. The treatment of hyperthyroidism depends on your age and severity of your case. Generally, anti-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine, beta-blockers or surgery are common treatment options.

3. Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that hampers your immune system and attacks the lining of your joints, leading to inflammation. Chronic inflammation can speed up metabolism and reduce overall weight. Certain symptoms of RA include joint swelling and pain. It usually affects the same joints on both sides of your body and your joints might feel stiff if you don’t move for too long at a stretch. The cause of Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to age, genes, hormonal changes, smoking and obesity.

4. Diabetes

If detected with type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks cells in your pancreas that make insulin hormone. Without insulin, your body can’t process or use glucose for energy. This causes high blood glucose. Your kidneys tend to remove unused glucose through urine. As sugar leaves your body, so does your calories and it can only be treated by blood sugar monitoring, diet modifications and exercising.

Also Read: Type 2 Diabetes: Risk Factors, Symptoms, Causes, Diet, Treatment

5. Depression

We cannot deny that we lead a stressful life and weight loss may be a result of depression. These emotions and mental health interfere with our daily activities. Depression causes poor appetite and eventually, weight loss. On the other hand, depression may even increase appetite. The symptoms vary from person to person but the most common ones are constant sadness, loss of interest in hobbies, low energy levels, poor concentration, sleeping too little or too much, irritability and more. Behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and antidepressants are used to treat the condition of depression.

6. Inflammatory bowel disease

An obvious symptom of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is sudden weight loss. It is a term that is meant for several other chronic inflammatory disorders of the digestive tract. IBD makes your body constantly use and drain out energy. This in turn results in decreased appetite and weight loss. The additional symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, bloody stools and fatigue.

7. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease. In some cases of early COPD some people may not show symptoms but the common ones are shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, with or without mucus. In later stages, COPD leads to weight loss because labored breathing burns a lot of calories and it is also uncomfortable to eat and breathe at the same time. You may further notice swelling of legs, ankles, or feet, low muscle endurance, fatigue.

8. Endocarditis

It causes inflammation of your heart’s inner lining. It develops when germs enter the bloodstream and collect in your heart. This may cause a poor appetite. Elevated body temperature leads to more metabolism and burns fat, causing weight loss. Endocarditis affects people who has damaged or artificial heart valves and suffers from congenital heart defects. Treatment of endocarditis includes antibiotics and surgery.

9. Tuberculosis

Sudden weight loss without any diet changes can be due to tuberculosis (TB), a contagious condition that affects the functioning of the lungs. Weight loss and decreased appetite are major symptoms of TB.

10. Cancer

Cancer is the general term for diseases that cause abnormal cells to quickly divide and spread. One of the first signs of cancer may be unexplained and drastic weight loss. This is common with cancers of the pancreas, lung, stomach and esophagus. Cancer increases inflammation, promotes muscle loss and disrupts appetite-regulating hormones.

11. Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease develops when the immune system attacks the adrenal glands. In turn, the adrenal glands can’t make enough hormones like cortisol and aldosterone which regulates functions like metabolism and appetite.

12. HIV

HIV attacks immune cells and makes it difficult to fight infections. Advanced forms of these conditions often cause weight loss among several other symptoms.

13. Congestive heart failure

The inflammation in damaged heart tissue speeds up metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss. If you are suffering from CHF, your digestive system fails to receive enough blood which leads to nausea and early fullness as well as makes it hard to breathe while eating, you may experience shortness of breath, persistent coughing, fast heart rate and more.

Rapid weight loss side effects

You will definitely notice certain changes in your body owing to rapid weight loss. The side effects may include, headaches, dizziness, constipation, menstrual irregularities, increased hair loss, as well as muscle loss. It is also a fact that compared to women; men have a higher risk of endocarditis, pancreatic and lung cancer, while women are more likely to develop COPD and hyperthyroidism.

Even though it is only normal for your body weight to fluctuate sometimes, if you haven’t changed you habits and eating enough but still continue losing weight, visit your doctor.


With MediBuddy’s easy call and book facility, RBS Test can be done which will help your doctor understand the sugar levels in your blood at random and chalk out a treatment or further tests for you.

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