Unexplained Weight Loss – Reasons And Recommended Blood Tests

Unexplained Weight Loss

Nowadays everyone wants to lose weight, but if you are losing weight without any particular reason, it can be a symptom of an alarming condition. In some cases, where the condition of unexplained weight loss along with normal blood test results can be a red flag of a more serious underlying condition.  Studies have shown that almost 72% of people who reported to have unexplained weight loss were suffering from a hidden chronic condition. Most of these underlying diseases can be lethal and some of them can be hyperthyroidism, cancer, heart failure, etc. So it is extremely important to consult a doctor if you are suffering from a sudden loss of weight and are unable to identify the reasons.

In this article, we will be discussing what unexplained weight loss is and some of the underlying reasons that cause it. The article also encompasses a detailed list of some blood tests that you can conduct to identify the reasons behind your weight loss. Go through the article and learn for yourself the reasons and tests behind unexplained weight loss.

What Is Unexplained Weight Loss?

Weight loss is beneficial if you are planning to lose some fat and get into shape. But if you are losing weight unintentionally, that might be some serious symptom of an underlying condition. If you are losing around 10 pounds or 5% of your body weight over 6-12 months without any reason, it can be considered unexplained weight loss. When you lose weight unintentionally, it can be an indication of some chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or cancer. Unintentional weight loss can affect anyone, but the more risky group is people who are above the age of 65. Those who are suspecting to lose weight even without making any lifestyle changes or diet transformations need to consult their physician immediately.

Unexplained weight loss

Causes of unexplained weight loss

Many reasons can cause unexplained weight loss. This includes both medical and nonmedical causes. Some of these causes are listed below:

  • Diabetes:  Studies have proven the link between diabetes and unexplained weight loss. Diabetes can cause an increase in blood sugar levels and this can create unwanted insulin, which will expel through frequent urination that can also remove calories.
  • Muscle loss: Muscle loss is a common condition among people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.  When you lose muscles, you also use weight along that.
  • Depression: Research has proven an invariable link between depression and unintentional weight loss. Being depressed can lead to reduced appetite and thereby can result in weight loss.
  • Cancer: Almost 40% of the people who are affected with cancer have testified weight loss as its early symptom. This happens because cancer cells need more energy than common cells which leads to exceeding levels of fat burn.
  • Hyperthyroidism:  Having an overactive thyroid can lead to an accelerated metabolism.  So even if you eat a lot, the rate of your calorie burn will be exceedingly high which can lead to weight loss.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease:  When you are affected with IBD, your body undergoes a catabolic state, where it is consistently using up energy. This can lead to extreme cases of weight loss.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis:  People affected with Rheumatoid Arthritis can develop inflammation inside their body which can lead to weight loss. They also tend to have lesser levels of appetite, which can also account for the reason behind weight loss.
  • COPD aka Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease:  During the stage 3 phase of COPD, weight loss can appear as a major symptom. The inability to breathe properly can lead to more calorie consumption than usual and can cause weight loss.

Get more information: Why Are You Experiencing Sudden Weight Loss: 10 Possible Reasons

When should you see a doctor?

It is suggested that you should consult a doctor if you have been losing more than 5% of your body weight in 6-12 months without any reason. This is extremely alarming if you are a person above 65 years old and your blood tests are normal. If you are experiencing other symptoms such as dizziness, hypertension, and muscle cramps, make the appointment immediately. It is always better to seek out medical guidance as early as possible because it can help get you proper treatments at the earliest. 

Blood tests recommended for unexplained weight loss

Certain blood tests can determine whether there has been any particular reason behind the weight loss or weight gain changes in your body. Some of these blood tests are listed below:

Blood tests for unexplained weight loss
  • Complete Liver Profile: The liver is a crucial organ in your body that plays a major role in detoxifying harmful chemicals and toxins from your body.  By conducting a proper liver profile test, you can identify any dysfunction of the liver and thereby find out the root cause of your weight gain or weight loss.
  • Thyroid Blood Test or Thyroid Hormone Test:  By conducting Thyroid Hormone Test, you can find out if you have been losing weight due to a hyperactive thyroid. When you have an overactive thyroid, you lose weight fast because of accelerated metabolism.
  • Lipid Profile: If your HDL Cholesterol levels are not up to the optimum levels, this indicates a condition of unexplained weight loss. Lipid Profile tests the fat or lipid content in your body.
  • Insulin Profile Test:  Insulin can have a role in fat building in your body. By conducting the Insulin Profile Test you can find out the level of insulin in your body and thereby determine if you have unexplained weight loss.
  • Iron Tests:  If your body has lower levels of iron, it can mean that you are experiencing low energy and this can lead to weight loss. Iron tests can determine the iron levels in your body and thereby can help you find out if you have weight loss or not.
  • Vitamin D test: One of the vitamin tests that can determine whether you have weight loss or not is the vitamin D test. Studies have found a link between vitamin D and weight loss, as the former can accelerate metabolism and thereby weight loss.

The Bottom line

On going through the points mentioned above, one can understand that unexplained weight loss without a proper reason can be an indication of a more complex condition. When one is experiencing unexplained weight loss and showing normal blood test reports, a detailed medical check-up is needed as a further step. If you or anyone you know is going through a similar condition, it is extremely necessary to watch and wait for 1-6 months. Even after this duration, if the weight loss is continuing, immediately consult a medical treatment. In most cases like this, conditions like hyperthyroidism, cancer, diabetes, etc can cause sudden and unexpected weight loss.

There are certain blood tests that can be used to determine any particular reason behind this sudden weight drop. But even in some cases, the blood tests can show normal reports and weight loss will be there. In these cases too, an immediate medical check-up is recommended. If you can diagnose and find out the reason at the earlier stage itself, the treatment can be fast and efficient.

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