Unexpected weight loss may be a cause for concern. However, when accompanied with other symptoms, the need for the correct diagnosis is essential. Weight loss may be normal depending on your diet, exercise or stress level. However, when other signs are present, weight loss may be an indication of something more serious.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, night sweats are common complaints encountered by outpatient caregivers. Night sweats are defined as sweating that drenches the bed to the point of having to change the bed clothes. Most episodes of night sweats involve too many bed coverings or overly warm room temperatures. However, other reasons may explain night sweats, including medication, menopause, tuberculosis, some types of cancers and human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. In general, night sweats with no other symptoms usually turn out to be a minor problem.
Some fluctuation in weight is normal. However, major weight loss can be a cause for concern. Losing weight for no apparent reason may be a sign of a systemic problem and should be addressed by your doctor.
Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria spread through the air and by close contact. It most commonly affects the lungs, but can affect other body systems also. Tuberculosis may cause night sweats and weight loss. Other symptoms of tuberculosis include persistent cough, bloody sputum, paleness and weakness. Tuberculosis can be treated successfully if caught soon enough. You should talk to your doctor about getting tested for tuberculosis.
Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or blood-forming systems of the body. Leukemia signs and symptoms can include night sweats and weight loss. It may affect many body systems, including the kidneys, testicles, brain, digestive tract and eyes. Other symptoms of leukemia may include constant fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, bone and joint pain, enlarged liver and spleen, fever and impaired immune functions.
Any unexpected weight loss accompanied by night sweats should be investigated for causes, especially if it is accompanied by signs related to leukemia or tuberculosis. The faster you diagnose these conditions, the better chance you have for a favorable outcome. Several other causes for night sweats are possible, so do not automatically assume you have these serious conditions. Let your doctor decide if it is something you should worry about.