Unintentional Weight Loss in Children

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Unintentional weight loss in children is typically caused by other health issues.

Unintentional weight loss in children can happen for a number of reasons. These reasons include thyroid problems, pain or sores in the mouth, illness, metabolism issues and rarely, cancer. Each of these conditions pose problems with weight loss in children. Consult your doctor if you notice drastic weight loss in your child as it can have adverse effects on your child's overall health and development.



To identify unintentional weight loss in your child, it is important to pay close attention to his eating habits as well as daily routine. If you notice that your child has lost over 5 percent of his body weight over a period of less than six months, you should contact your physician immediately. Look for small changes such as mouth sores, loose teeth, complaints of pain or illness or loss of appetite due to behavioral problems or depression. These may all be reasons for your child's unintentional weight loss.


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You may find that your child has other symptoms that accompany the change in weight. These symptoms may be caused by an underlying illness or health issue. Some of these symptoms may include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, decreased urination and being overly tired. Consult your physician if your child experiences any of these symptoms as he may need to evaluate your child.


Possible Causes

There are various health conditions that could cause unintentional weight loss in a child. Some of these conditions include: gastrointestinal problems, depression or mental instability, diabetes, thyroid issues, cardiovascular diseases, infection or changes in medication. It is important to discuss all of these possibilities as well as your child's overall health with your medical practitioner to find the cause to your child's weight loss issues.


Childhood Cancer: A Rare Cause

Another possible cause for unintentional weight loss in children is childhood cancer. There are several different types of cancer that plague children that should be considered. According to the National Cancer Institute, one to two children out of every 10,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer every year. Among these are neuroblastomas and leukemia. Children with cancer can exhibit symptoms that include continued and unexplained weight loss, developed lumps, persistent headaches, vomiting and eye or vision changes. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, and they appear suddenly, consult your doctor for further diagnosis.


Potential Health Problems

If your child's unexplained weight loss goes untreated, there could be serious health risks involved. If your child is not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals her body needs for to stay healthy because of underlying issues, it may lead to malnutrition. This condition can pose problems with growth and development.


Each child is different and the treatment for unexplained weight loss varies from one to the other. Once your doctor has diagnosed the real issue behind your child's unintentional weight loss, he will discuss an action plan. He may suggest increased caloric intake, supplements or changes in daily activities--all of which may have a significant effect on your child's overall health and weight issues.

Your child may require more aggressive treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy or even surgery if he is diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer.




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