If you're eating properly but losing weight, you may have no reason for concern. You may simply be more active than normal, or you could actually be eating less than you think. However, if you've lost more than 5 percent of your total body weight in one month, then you should see your doctor immediately to determine the cause. The same applies if you've lost 1/10 of your total weight in the past six months. A variety of diseases and disorders can also lead to unintended weight loss. So check with your doctor if you're concerned.
Many people fear cancer could cause their unintended weight loss, and it's a real concern. Gastrointestinal, breast and lung cancers frequently cause weight loss, despite eating a proper diet, according to University of Kansas Medical Center. However, cancer still represents one of the less-likely causes for your weight loss, so you shouldn't worry unless your physician mentions it as a real possibility. Medical testing can establish whether cancer is causing you to lose weight.
People with mental disorders such as major depression or bipolar disorder frequently struggle with unintended weight loss, even when they believe they're eating properly, notes the University of Kansas Medical Center. Alzheimer's disease represents another frequent cause of weight loss, especially among the elderly. If you have a mental disorder or Alzheimer's, it's possible that you're actually consuming too little food, even though you feel as if you're eating normally. In addition, alcoholism can cause weight loss, and can occur even if you're eating properly. If you think one of these conditions could be causing your problem, ask your doctor to screen you for it.
Certain gastrointestinal disorders, including Crohn's disease, colitis and celiac disease, can lead to weight loss even when you're eating plenty of food, according to Thomas Jefferson University. With these diseases your body fails to absorb the calories you consume, and you drop weight even though you may be eating plenty of nutritious food. If you have one of these disorders, you'll likely have other symptoms, including diarrhea and abdominal pain, and you should mention these to your doctor. Medical testing can determine if you suffer from one of these so-called malabsorption disorders.
Hyperthyroidism, a disorder in which your thyroid gland produces too much hormone, can cause weight loss in people who eat a proper diet, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Again, you'll probably have other symptoms -- these can include a rapid pulse, trembling hands, diarrhea and muscle weakness in your upper arms and thighs. If you have hyperthyroidism, your physician will need to determine the cause, which can involve a growth in your thyroid gland or an autoimmune illness in which your body's own white blood cells attack your thyroid. Treatments can include surgery and medication, depending on the cause.