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Weight loss - unintentional

Definition

Unexplained weight loss is a decrease in body weight, when you did not try to lose the weight on your own.

Many people gain and lose some weight during any year. Loss of 10 pounds OR 5% of your normal body weight over 6-12 months or less, and you don't know the reason.

This problem may also be called unintentional weight loss.

Alternative Names

Loss of weight; Losing weight without trying

Causes

A loss of appetite may be due to:

Chronic digestive system problems that decrease the amount of calories and nutrients your body absorbs, including:

Other causes such as:

Home Care

Your healthcare provider may suggest changes in your diet and exercise program depending on the cause of your weight loss.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will do a physical exam and check your weight. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

You may need to see a dietitian for nutrition advice.

References

Bistrian BR. Nutritional assessment. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 221.


Review Date: 1/6/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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