While weight loss can be a deliberate goal that many people seek by following a certain diet or exercising, it can also be a symptom of a disease, and although it is considered normal to lose or gain weight most of the time; However, in the event of a loss of 5% or more of body weight during a short period of time, it becomes a worrying matter, which might indicate malnutrition, therefore a deficiency in the body’s intake of energy, minerals, vitamins, fats, and proteins. And sometimes it could be a sign of a specific illness but it is usually accompanied by other symptoms; Such as loss of appetite, digestive upset, fatigue, and mood swings.
Also, there are many other factors that affect a person’s weight; Such as age, general health status, level of physical activity, average calories consumed, the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body, and many more.
Reasons Behind Unexpected Weight Loss
While most people relate unexpected weight loss to loss of appetite or depression, you should know that actually there are many medical and non-medical reasons behind unintended weight loss, as there are many things that may lead to a general deterioration in health, and therefore weight loss.
Here is a list of some of the reasons behind unexpected weight loss:
- Eating disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia disorders can lead to unexpected weight loss, as people who suffer from these conditions may not be able to actually notice the amount of weight that they are losing.
- Overactive or underactive thyroid: The thyroid gland that helps regulate body temperature, heart rate, and body metabolism, might lead to unexpected weight loss or gain if it is overactive or underactive.
- Oral problems: which include gum disease, mouth ulcers, tooth decay, or the use of orthodontics.
- Malnutrition: It is known that malnutrition can result from poor food choices, or limited financial resources of individuals, which can affect their ability to purchase and consume healthy food which leads to low calories intake and therefore unexpected weight loss.
- Addison’s disease: one of the symptoms of this disease is weight loss and it occurs because the adrenal glands in people with it do not produce sufficient amounts of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone.
- Psychological disorders: such as depression, lead to a sudden loss of appetite and therefore unexpected weight loss.
- Other reasons behind unexpected weight loss:
– Changes in the sense of smell and taste.
– heart failure.
– Parkinson’s disease.
– Peptic ulcer
– Some types of medication.
– Ulcerative colitis.
When To See A Doctor
If the unexpected weight loss is associated with any other symptoms such as fatigue, vomiting, body pain, diarrhea or anything else, you should see a doctor as fast as possible and go through the necessary tests to have a diagnosis as early as possible.
How To Gain Weight In A Healthy Way
Here are some tips to help you gain weight back in a healthy way:
- Always start with protein based foods and leave vegetables at last.
- Avoid drinking water before meals; to avoid filling the stomach, and thus not getting enough calories.
- Drink milk, especially full-fat milk, which is rich in calories and high-quality protein.
- Stay away from smoking; Smokers are often lighter than non-smokers, so quitting smoking helps to gain weight.
- Get enough sleep; because enough sleep is so important for muscle growth.
- Eat more meals throughout the day, whether they are main meals, light meals, or snacks.