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I'm Unintentionally Losing Weight

author image Kristeen Cherney
Kristeen Cherney began writing healthy lifestyle and education articles in 2008. Since then, her work has appeared in various online publications, including Healthline.com, Ideallhealth.com and FindCollegeInfo.com. Cherney holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Florida Gulf Coast University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in English.
I'm Unintentionally Losing Weight
Certain medical conditions cause unintentional weight loss. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Unintentional weight loss is classified by a gradual to rapid loss of body weight that occurs spontaneously. This may seem good if you were previously overweight. However, MedlinePlus.com says that unintentional weight loss may be attributed to an underlying health problem. Persistent weight loss should be addressed with a doctor, particularly if you’re taking steps to prevent losing weight.


There is a variety of causes for unintentional weight loss, ranging from lifestyle choices to medical issues. Your appetite and food choices may change as you age, resulting in weight loss. A busy schedule may cause you to skip meals or eat meals that aren’t nutritious. This can also cause unintentional weight loss. Certain medications you take or exercising too much may decrease pounds. Unintentional weight loss that isn’t related to your lifestyle may be related to a health problem. According to Medline Plus, examples include depression, cancer, hyperthyroidism, smoking, cancer, AIDS and chronic diarrhea.

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Other symptoms may accompany your unintentional weight loss, especially if they are related to a health condition. For example, persistent nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms may be indicative of severe anxiety or kidney disease. Insomnia and increased heart rate may be related to hyperthyroidism, stress and cardiovascular disease. It is important to take note of any other symptoms that you experience while losing weight, so your doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis. Keep in mind that some underlying medical issues can cause weight loss and no other symptoms.


Losing too much weight is detrimental to your health. Weight loss is indicative of a reduction in the amount of calories your body stores. You need calories for energy. Unintentional weight loss also puts you at risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. This can cause a lack of energy and alter mood levels in the short term. In the long run, a lack of nutrition can lead to diseases and serious complications. Persistent malnutrition will cause more weight loss. You may also experience muscle loss. Once your body uses up all fat stores for energy, your muscle mass is used up next. Other risks may be entailed with the weight loss, depending on the type of health condition you have.


A doctor's visit is warranted if you spontaneously lose five percent of your total body mass within six to 12 months. Dropping a few pounds is not a reason for concern, especially if you regain the weight on your own. In addition to medical tests, Medline Plus says that your doctor will likely recommend a nutritional assessment. A dietitian can help determine whether you are getting enough nutrients in your diet to maintain your weight. Never skip any medical treatments without discussion with your physician first. In most cases, unintentional weight loss is reversible once the cause is identified.

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