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Causes of Rapid, Unexplained Weight Loss & Bruises

by
author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
Causes of Rapid, Unexplained Weight Loss & Bruises
Rapid, unexplained weight loss and easy bruising may indicate a serious medical condition. Photo Credit Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Overview

Unexplained weight loss occurs without intentional efforts, such as dieting or increased exercise. Bruising occurs when the blood vessels beneath the skin are ruptured. Though modest weight loss and bruising are seldom cause for alarm, rapid, unexplained weight loss coupled with easy bruising may indicate a potentially serious medical condition. MayoClinic.com suggests prompt medical guidance at the onset of symptoms.

Graves' Disease

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid, a gland in the neck that produces hormones and affects the body's metabolism. It causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of hormones. As a result, the body burns calories too rapidly, which can lead to unexplained, potentially rapid, weight loss. Graves' disease may also cause changes in the capillaries beneath the skin. A person's skin may appear red, blotchy or bruised.

Though Graves' disease can affect men and women, it is 10 times more prevalent among women, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Additional symptoms may include difficulty sleeping, rapid heartbeat, irritability, physical weakness and light menstrual flow in women. Graves' disease is treatable, generally through synthetic hormones, iodine treatments or, in some cases, surgery.

Leukemia

Leukemia is a form of cancer that affects the body's bone marrow, blood-producing tissues and lymphatic system. It causes excessive production of white blood cells that fail to function effectively.

Though many forms of leukemia exist, unexplained, rapid weight loss and easy bruising may are potential symptoms of all types. Additional symptoms of leukemia may include chills or fever, physical weakness, red splotches on the skin, easy bleeding from cuts or wounds, excessive perspiration and bone pain. Leukemia treatment depends upon the type and severity of the disease as well as a person's health and age.

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis, also called cirrhosis of the liver is a condition in which scar tissue develops in place of healthy tissue in the liver, due to chronic disease or injury. When the liver lacks healthy tissue, which is needed for protein production, immune system function, proper digestion, blood health and energy, unexplained weight loss and easy bruising may occur.

Additional symptoms of cirrhosis may include reduced appetite, physical weakness, water retention, frequent nosebleeds and nausea. In advances stages of the disease, yellowing of the skin, or jaundice, may occur. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, approximately 5 percent of people with cirrhosis later develop liver cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver cancer and other complications of the disease.

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