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. Sometimes a specific cause isn't found.

Usually, an unrecognized cancer will have other symptoms or abnormalities of laboratory tests, in addition to unexplained weight loss.

Potential causes of unexplained weight loss include:

  1. Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency)
  2. Cancer
  3. Celiac disease
  4. Changes in diet or appetite
  5. Changes in sense of smell
  6. Changes in sense of taste
  7. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation — worsening of symptoms
  8. Crohn's disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
  9. Dementia
  10. Dental problems
  11. Depression (major depressive disorder)
  12. Diabetes
  13. Heart failure
  14. HIV/AIDS
  15. Hypercalcemia
  16. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  17. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  18. Medications
  19. Parkinson's disease
  20. Peptic ulcer
  21. Substance abuse (alcohol, cocaine, other)
  22. Tuberculosis
  23. Ulcerative colitis

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

Jan. 11, 2018