Diseases that can lead to unexplained weight loss

Diseases that can lead to unexplained weight loss

Diseases that can lead to unexplained weight loss

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Cancer

Unexplained weight loss is one of 15 cancer symptoms that are all too often ignored. There are several types of cancer, such as leukemia, lung, pancreatic, breast and colon cancer, that are known to cause 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 with cancer,” he says. Some cancers cause faster resting metabolism, which burns more calories, while others can produce inflammatory proteins that can lead to weight loss, and others can cause weight loss due to their location in the body. For example, “some cases of pancreatic cancer can cause the stomach to empty, making you feel full quickly, and some cases of esophageal cancer can cause difficulty swallowing, preventing you from eating and leading to weight loss,” he says. “If you have an unexplained weight loss of more than 10 percent, something is afoot,” he says. “See 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 loss of appetite and 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 condition such as Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. “Weight loss is usually part of a constellation of Graves’ disease symptoms, including heart 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 lead to weight loss, she says. “A simple blood test can detect an overactive thyroid,” 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 decreased appetite,” says Lisa Ashe, DO, an internist in Washington, DC. HIV/AIDS can also increase the risk of opportunistic infections that lead to weight loss, either through decreased appetite or because eating is painful. . Although 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 lead an otherwise healthy life.

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