Weight loss - unintentional
Unexplained weight loss is a decrease in body weight, when you did not try to lose the weight on your own.
Many people gain and lose weight. Unintentional weight loss is loss of 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) OR 5% of your normal body weight over 6 to 12 months or less without knowing the reason.
Loss of weight; Losing weight without trying; Unexplained weight loss
A loss of appetite may be due to:
Chronic digestive system problems that decrease the amount of calories and nutrients your body absorbs, including:
Other causes such as:
Your health care provider may suggest changes in your diet and an exercise program depending on the cause of your weight loss.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The provider will do a physical exam and check your weight. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
You may need to see a dietitian for nutrition advice.
Bistrian BR. Nutritional assessment. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 214.
McQuaid KR. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 132.
Seller RH, Symons AB. Weight gain and weight loss. In: Seller RH, Symons AB, eds. Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 36.
Review Date: 1/19/2019
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.