Weight loss is not always healthy
Undoubtedly, the loss of extra pounds is beneficial for our appearance, general health, for better physical shape, self-esteem and better involvement in public life.
If, however, weight loss is not executed properly, a number of biochemical processes in the organism can be disturbed, which may lead to problems with both individual organs and the function of whole systems.
In case of improper diet, for example, the stomach, intestine and liver can be damaged. This is directly expressed in incomplete degradation and processing of the food, respectively in metabolic disturbance. In addition, there are also many diseases that lead to abnormal weight loss. And the question arises: When weight loss is disturbing?
Our bodies are designed to follow consistency patterns. Any sudden change indicates that unhealthy processes are developing. Thus, if a person has lost a significant part of his weight within a short period of time, without having changed anything in his lifestyle /workplace and working conditions, type of consumed foods, way of eating, physical activity/, he should be worried.
In this situation, even a few pounds may indicate a health problem, and if the weight loss is 10 pounds or more, lost within a few weeks, then there is a pathology – in physical or psychological aspect, and metabolic disturbances. Factors causing rapid unhealthy weight loss are different – excessive stress, acute infections or chronic inflammations, tumors, surgeries, injuries.
Diseases that may cause weight loss
The answer to the question When weight loss is disturbing? also includes information about diseases that can cause weight loss. They are different and may be due to both physiological pathology and psychological basis.
Without these diseases being classified and graded because they are all dangerous, we can start with intestinal inflammations such as ulcerous colitis. This disease affects the colon, and in some cases it can lead to surgery.
Inflammations and ulcers on the mucosa can affect different parts of the colon – the rectum, the sigmoid zone or to spread throughout the entire bowel. In this disease, the immune system activates abnormally in order to “clean”, without actual presence of harmful viruses, fungi, bacteria, and so on.
It may occur at different stages of life, but usually occurs before the age of 30, as it affects equally both women and men. Similar condition is Crohn’s disease, but the range of the condition is much larger – it can affect the person from the mouth through the stomach and intestine to the anus.
Highly increased thyroid activity – hyperthyroidism can also lead to weight loss and is also autoimmune. Hormones produced by this gland have an effect on metabolism and can speed it up. Thus, a person quickly “burns” his energy and loses weight without changing anything in his regimes.
HIV infection can also lead to weight loss, because the organism cannot properly digest nutrients. Moreover, ulcers often appear in the mouth and the person is not able to eat normally.
Mental disorders may be among the root causes for weight loss. In anorexia, the person experiences wrong visual perceptions of himself and thinks he is fat, though he may be of quite normal weight and even thin. In this condition, people may experience even fear and disgust from food, and intentional starvation leads to weight loss. The loss of appetite in depression is part of the loss of interest in everything.
Another menal illness causing weight loss is schizophrenia, which changes the perceptions of taste and smell. In addition, the person experiences difficulties when shopping, cooking, etc.
Weight loss can also be caused by cancer. Many of the patients diagnosed with cancer have previously lost significant amount of weigh without reason. Diabetes, tuberculosis, dental problems can be added to the list of diseases causing weight loss.
Symptoms of the weight loss caused by a disease process
Any disease causing weight loss has certain symptoms.
In ulcerous colitis and Crohn’s disease, diarrhea is common, and it can be mixed with blood, accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea, intestinal spasms and frequent urge to go to the WC. The general condition can cause lack of appetite and even disgust from food.
Due to the autoimmune basis and the wide range of Crohn’s disease, some symptoms may occur that are not related to the intestine – ocular and skin inflammations, joint pain, and so on.
In hyperthyroidism can be disturbed the functions of different organs and systems respectively, the symptoms are varied. Tremors or involuntary rapid spasms may occur in different muscles, as well as anxiety, rapid or irregular heartbeat, insomnia, nervousness, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
In HIV, the immune cells are affected, as the protective forces of the organism are weaker and it is not able to fight diseases. Therefore, the weight loss caused by disease, especially if we talk about AIDS, can be accompanied by a wide variety of different symptoms. In the initial phase /recent infection/, the symptoms are similar to these of cold – fever, rashes, night sweating, and so on.
In anorexia, the main symptom is refusal to eat, because the person is afraid of becoming fat, which is something terrible for him – this would mean that he will not be liked, he will be ridiculed and rejected by others, etc. The wrong perception of themselves is also indicative, including the visual one – they are dangerously thin, as weight gain may be even healthy and beneficial for them.
In addition, they are too self-critical, they underestimate their achievements and consider themselves a “failure”. Other symptoms are slow pulse, decreased blood pressure, fatigue, even weakness due to the starvation, distraction, pale and dry skin, brittle nails and thinner tooth enamel, and so on.
Depression can easily be recognized by depressed mood, lack of interests, inability to feel joy and to experience pleasure, constant fatigue, self-accusation, pessimism, low concentration, etc.
In scizophrenia, the patient experiences impaired perceptions that prevent him to see the reality – hallucinations /visual and hearing/, unjustified and strong suspicion, and so on. The mood often changes, and the predominant states are depression accompanied by indifference, reluctance to speak, etc.
Of course, the listed above does not include all the symptoms of weight loss due to a disease, because the organism is a unified system in which the subsystems are interconnected and interacting. Thus, the unnatural weight loss can be caused by various other diseases and the symptoms depend on the specific illness.
How to protect ourselves from the unhealthy weight loss
If we are following a diet, we should be careful not to make mistakes that can lead to damage of organs and metabolic disturbances. So we should undergo a medical examination and consult with a specialist who will preprare a plan for the diet and physical activities according to our individual condition and abilities.
The nutritional regime will include a varied and tasty food that will not cause an internal resistance in us, and it will supply the organism with all necessary substances, without excessive and unnecessary calories for the body. The combination with the complex of physical activities will result in higher energy consumption compared to the energy intake, and therefore we can achieve a healthy weight loss.
In order to avoid the factors leading to weight loss caused by diseases, we have to stick to rational nutrition and physical activity. Which means that, no matter how busy our everyday life is, we need to find time and a way to be healthy, and everything else is in line with that goal.
For example, we can reduce the stress by changing our attitude towards what’s happening around us – we stress oursevles a lot for things that do not matter, and we even do not remember them after time. Moreover, there are specialized training techniques and consultations. The rest and sleep are very important – one should not be deprived of them.
The recommended night sleep is between 6 and 8 hours. It goes without saying that we should quit alcohol and cigarettes. Instead we should focus on nutrition and active physical activities. The menu should contain the correct proportion of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. By burning energy, balanced workouts contribute to proper metabolism.