Scary Reasons Why You’re Losing Weight Without Trying

losing weight reasons

By: Dr. Masoud Abdar

If you drop 5% of your body weight in less than six months and you can’t pinpoint a good explanation for that weight loss, you may be experiencing one of the following medical diseases and should get tested by your doctor soon:

Thyroid Issues

Weight loss is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism, or an over-active thyroid. Increased hunger or heart palpitations, new sleeping problems or feeling hot all the time are symptoms of an over-active thyroid.

Gut Diseases

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder tied to gluten sensitivity, can cause a drop in weight, and tends to be accompanied by other GI symptoms like diarrhea.

Problems with your pancreas, which produces enzymes that aid in digestion, can also lead to sudden weight loss. Symptoms include stomach pain, discolored poop, or nausea after eating fatty foods, so keep an eye out for these telltale signs.


Primarily, new-onset diabetes (Diabetes Type One) can cause weight loss, which not only happens to children/teenagers, so be aware. You may also notice you’re peeing all the time, and you’re always thirsty. Your body starts literally peeing out glucose because you can’t absorb it, and that drives thirst. Your urine also tends to have a sugary aroma to it. Diabetes also causes your body to suck nourishment from your muscles, which is fuels the sudden weight drop.


Loss of appetite is a common side effect of clinical depression, and one that can promote significant weight loss. In a lot of cases, the person doesn’t even notice they’re losing weight because they’re sucked into the depressive symptoms. Irritability, heavy drinking, indecision, and problems sleeping are other common symptoms of depression.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or some types of infection can knock out a sufferer’s appetite, and so lead to weight loss. These conditions can also cause inflammation in your gut, which could mess with nutrient absorption and thus promote sudden excessive weight loss.

Poor Diet

This one is a no brainer. As we age, the stomach empties more slowly, which makes you feel fuller longer. Also, some of the brain signals that control appetite and fullness become weakened. All of this can lead to older adults eating and drinking fluids less, losing weight, and failing to get enough nutrients.

Taking lots of medications can also affect your appetite, or the combination of certain medications can also trigger extreme weight loss and malnutrition.  Seek your physicians’ guidance in modifying your medication list whenever possible.


Most cancers, as well as a tumor or ulcer in your stomach or intestines, can cause inflammation or malabsorption issues that may lead to a drop in weight. It’s often common for doctors to perform a checkup of your gastrointestinal passageway: you stomach, colon, bowels, and esophagus, for tumors or inflammation, when sudden weight loss is reported.


After something like losing a job, a divorce, or the death of a loved one, it’s easy to lose interest in eating as much. You should return to your regular weight once you have time to grieve the loss or adhere to the change. It’s best to seek help from family and friends, group therapy or a professional counselor.


Your immune system turns on your body and attacks your internal tissues, with Lupus. Your digestive system becomes irritated and makes it hard for your body to take in nutrients from food even when you eat right. Reports of feeling very tired, joints hurting or stiff, or a butterfly shaped rash on your face are common identifiers. A physician knows best in steering you towards new lifestyle changes, diets, as well as possible medications.


Although COPD is 80% associated with a smoking history, anyone can get it in time. This disease damages tiny air sacs in your lungs. It makes it hard to breathe and makes you cough up a thick phlegm/mucus. With this disease, it’s often a catch-twenty-two as your body gets tired easily and you lose appetite, all the while you body needing more calories to get enough oxygen into each breath.

Heart Failure

A weakened, enlarged heart can’t pump blood and oxygen to the rest of your body like it should, thus your digestive system may not get enough blood to do its job well. With this disease, you feel full even when you haven’t eaten. Over time and without medical intervention, your body is not able to get rid of fluid like it should, and it builds up in your intestines and keep you from taking in nutrients. Limiting your salt intake and taking diuretic medications can help you shift fluid out of your body and feel better.

Addison’s Disease

Your adrenal glands don’t product enough cortisol in this case. Nausea, vomiting, belly pain, and sometimes diarrhea are then noted. Such symptoms can make you lose your appetite. Hormone replacement therapy and medication prescribed by your doctor can aid.

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