Unexplained weight loss has many causes, medical and nonmedical. Often, a combination of things results in a general decline in your health and a related weight loss. Most often, medical disorders that cause weight loss include other symptoms. Sometimes a specific cause isn't found.

Potential causes of unexplained weight loss include

  1. Cancer
  2. Dementia
  3. Dental problems
  4. Depression (major depressive disorder) or other mood disorders
  5. Diabetes
  6. Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium level)
  7. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  8. Hyponatremia (low blood sodium level)
  9. Medicines
  10. Parkinson's disease
  11. Previous stroke or neurological disorders

Less common conditions that may include weight loss as one of the symptoms are:

  1. Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency)
  2. Alcohol use disorder
  3. Amyloidosis (buildup of abnormal proteins in your organs)
  4. Celiac disease
  5. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) — the blanket term for a group of diseases that block airflow from the lungs — including emphysema.
  6. Crohn's disease
  7. Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  8. Heart failure
  9. HIV/AIDS
  10. Peptic ulcer
  11. Prescription drug abuse
  12. Tuberculosis
  13. Ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

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Aug. 17, 2022

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