How Much Weight Loss Is Concerning? Alarming Signs That You Need To be Aware For!

Nikhil Goswami
The girl taking measurements of her body, white studio background.

Weight loss is a normal phenomenon in the daily lives of most people. Interestingly, weight loss is a welcome development for people looking to shed weight. However, it becomes a problem when you lose more than five percent of your body weight within 6-12 months.

Losing weight at this rate is termed “extreme weight loss,” If you think you’re experiencing this, you should book an appointment with your doctor immediately. Extreme weight loss is very concerning, especially amongst older adults and can be a sign of a health problem.

Additionally, intense special diet and hardcore exercising in overweight or obese individuals can cause a sudden reduction in bodily fat.

You can research and know more about best weight loss supplements for women. Extreme weight loss could begin with symptoms like loss of appetite and fatigue. If you experience these symptoms, please get checked by a doctor immediately.

Unexplained Weight Loss

When figuring out the root cause of unexplained weight loss, one should always ask themselves, “When did the weight loss begin?” Measuring the time frame accurately is one of the first steps to tackling unintentional weight loss. Patients should also take their mental and physical health and surroundings into factor. Stressing about their life events and excessive strain on the physical body can cause massive weight loss, while struggling to adjust to one’s surroundings may result in additional stress leading to weight loss.

One very common cause of unintentional weight loss is sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation tends to trigger an imbalance in your hunger hormones which slows your body’s metabolism causing fat to settle in your bloodstream. In addition, sleep deprivation can reduce the amount of energy available to your body.

How Much Loss Becomes Unexplained Weight Loss?

One could ask, how much weight loss is too much? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can lose as much as 0.45 to 0.9kg per week, which is within the normal and acceptable range. Hence, you can lose about 1.6 to 3.2kg monthly if you’re looking to shed weight.

It becomes unexplained weight loss when you lose over 5% of your entire body weight within a twelve-month cycle. Unintentional weight loss could signal an underlying medical disorder. Rapid weight loss could be due to muscle wasting, hyperthyroidism, depression, and other potential symptoms.

Losing so much weight could also signal malnutrition. Malnutrition occurs when an individual’s diet lacks necessary eating habits and the minimal required calories for the human body. You can curb malnutrition by improving your eating habits and taking in adequate calories needed for the body.

Overthinking could also impact your eating habits and prevent your body from functioning properly. When stressed, you may forget to eat over long periods. Your body then uses up the stored fats in your body to provide energy. Over time, this process will deplete your body’s stored fats leading to weight shedding.

If you start losing weight without trying, you should consult your medical practitioner immediately as you might have a condition known as Cachexia. Cachexia allows people to burn calories at an unusually higher rate.

What Can Unexplained Weight Loss Do To Me?

You could experience gallstones which occur in 12-25% of people who continuously lose weight over time. Other negative dangers of shedding weight include dizziness, headaches, constipation, and muscle wasting. You could also experience fatigue, menstrual abnormalities, and hair loss.

Health Problems Caused by Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss can be the root cause of a host of health problems and complications. Some of them are listed below.


The thyroid hormone in your body helps to regulate food breakdown. Due to its function, the thyroid hormone affects your basal metabolic rate. The basal metabolic rate depicts how your body uses energy while resting to regulate essential bodily functions such as keeping warm and breathing, among other things.

An overactive thyroid (called hyperthyroidism) is a situation where your body has more thyroid hormone than is needed to regulate your body’s bodily functions. You will experience certain symptoms when your body produces excessive thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland. Such symptoms include a racing heart, nervousness, and insomnia. You could also experience thinning hair, increased sweating, and excessive energy followed by fatigue.

The aggregation of these symptoms could lead to weight loss. Conversely, hyperthyroidism could lead to weight gain in some rare instances. However, in most cases, the thyroid hormone burns more energy while resting. Hence, weight loss is a common symptom of this health condition.

How Does The Condition Cause You to Lose Weight?

Whenever you eat foods with carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose. Your body then uses oxygen delivered through the blood to burn glucose within cells in metabolism. Metabolic processes thus produce the energy that supports bodily functions like powering your muscle cells to move and contract.

When you go to bed, however, your body does not need the energy to carry out these rigorous activities. Hence, the energy gets stored. Instead of storing the glucose directly, your body converts it to fat stored under your skin. Furthermore, the body converts the glucose to acetyl-CoA, which is easier to store and metabolize.

Patients with hyperthyroidism cannot carry out this process properly because the body automatically releases thyroid hormones into the body. These thyroid hormones promote metabolic processes even when one does not need energy. As a result, the body does not get to store any acetyl-CoA. In addition, the body converts all the stored adipose into glucose to produce energy. This process repeated for weeks or months leads to drastic weight loss. Hence, hyperthyroidism is an underlying cause of weight loss in older adults.

Please note that your body’s food breakdown is not only controlled by the thyroid hormone but also by other hormones; your bodily activity, food consumption, and several other factors contribute to your overall health.

How To Treat Hyperthyroidism?

If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can result in serious illness. The first step is to employ the services of an endocrinologist — doctors who specialize in the function of your glands and hormones. After diagnosis, the doctor will advise you on the best course of treatment.

Your doctor may help you manage your condition with medicine, and such medicine may improve your bowel movements, anxiety, and other issues. In addition, your doctor may suggest some diet changes to reduce the stress on your body.


Diabetes is another serious condition affecting millions of people worldwide and adversely affects the weight of individuals. Most people only know the relationship between diabetes and gaining weight. However, the condition also causes unexplained weight shedding. Insulin is the major determining factor in diabetes, and insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate your body’s glucose usage.

Individuals with Type II diabetes find it difficult to use insulin effectively. Hence, their bodies cannot transport glucose to the cells, and instead, the glucose accumulates in the blood to cause high blood sugar.

Since the glucose doesn’t make it to your cells, the body thinks it is starving and finds alternative means for nutrient absorption. Hence, your body burns muscle and adipose rapidly to produce more calories. This process causes unexplained weight loss. Consequently, your kidneys also work overtime to help eliminate excess blood sugar. This process utilizes more energy and causes kidney damage.

Type I diabetes also follows a similar pattern. However, in this case, your body stops producing insulin entirely. You are more likely to experience this medical condition if your family member also suffers from it. Thus, you may want to revisit your medical history if you notice any signs or symptoms.

Other signs for people with insulin deficiencies include excessive urination, itchy skin, and excessive thirst or hunger. Such individuals may also experience slow healing of cuts and bruises, and such symptoms could weaken your immune system and make you prone to other disorders.

You should see a doctor for a physical examination if you notice these symptoms. Your doctor will recommend the best plan to help you with your condition.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease typically occurs when your body rejects gluten when consumed. Gluten is a protein found in whole grains such as wheat. Weight shedding is a common symptom of this disease, and patients experience the effects when gluten is consumed. With Celiac, your immune system tends to attack and react adversely to gluten. Consequently, this autoimmune response leads to damage to your small intestines.

The destruction of your small intestine affects nutrient absorption in your body. Hence, you may emaciate since you cannot get a proper diet for your body’s wellbeing. However, weight loss is only one indication of this disease. Other symptoms may include mouth sores, fatigue, pain, loss of appetite, headaches, anaemia, etc.

Doctors usually advise each patient to take a gluten-free diet to help them manage celiac disease. Some people may gain weight from gluten-free meals, and it is quite normal to gain weight after eating a gluten-free meal. However, in case of lingering concerns, you can consult your nutritionist for help.


Certain drugs to address established health conditions may heighten your body’s metabolic rate. Such medication may lead to more calories hence decreasing your appetite.

The adverse effects of using such drugs may vary based on the type of drug you consume. Firstly, stimulants like phentermine can cause sleeplessness, increased heart rate, and blood pressure. Other adverse effects include restlessness, abuse, withdrawal symptoms, and drug dependence.

Drugs that block adipose absorption, e.g., orlistat, may cause soft stools, oily spotting, and gas. Receptor agonists like Liraglutide often lead to nausea or vomiting. These glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors also cause diarrhoea, constipation, or heartburn. Diet pills like bupropion and naltrexone that affect brain neurotransmitters can cause headaches, dizziness, and dry mouth.

You should only use stimulant-type weight loss medication (e.g., phentermine) on a short-term basis. You should not use these pills for more than 12 weeks to avoid the risk of dependence and other side effects. However, you can use orlistat for longer periods to maintain previously lost weight.

Always ensure to use weight loss medication with a low-calorie meal. Make sure you consume the appropriate nutrients alongside a doctor-approved exercise plan. Always check to consult your health practitioner before you start using these medications to avoid health complications.


Stress affects your mental and physical health, which tends to affect your behaviours. In some people, stress causes shedding weight, affecting the body’s processes and altering your feeding habits.

A stressed person may overeat to cope with the stress. Contrastingly, others may experience anorexia, changing the way they eat and resorting to starvation in order to keep their weight in check. Poor nutrition choices and stress can lead to inflammation and loss of weight. The inflammation can activate the vagus nerve, influencing the gut’s ability to process and metabolize food.

Your body’s sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight or flight hormones known as epinephrine (adrenaline from the adrenal glands). An epinephrine rush causes faster heartbeats. In addition, the process speeds up breathing, which in turn burns calories.

Your system automatically triggers epinephrine when you suffer from stress. Hence, prolonged stress could lead to excessive calorie burning. Consequently, you will emaciate more than usual under prolonged stress.

Another way stress affects the body’s weight is through the HPA axis. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis control’s your body’s stress response and is responsible for your cortisol levels.

Under stress, the pituitary gland sends signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. The hormone increases the body’s glucose and fatty acids from the liver and helps to regulate the body’s immune response. Cortisol also reduces inflammation. Severe stress distorts the normal functioning of the HPA axis and causes changes in food breakdown, which lead to weight loss.


Lupus is a condition that causes weight gain or loss depending on the situation and individual involved. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, this disease affects more than 16,000 people of all ages.

Since the disease attacks the body’s cells, it can cause tissue damage, pain, and inflammation. Although you cannot cure Lupus, medications like corticosteroids, aspirin, and antimalarial drugs help to manage the disease. You may also need other drugs for accompanying diseases or symptoms. Thus, you can use diuretics, blood pressure medications, or osteoporosis drugs as accompanying medication.

It is advisable to consult your health practitioner concerning your options once you get diagnosed with Lupus.

Lupus and Weight Loss

Is any weight lost through Lupus? Yes. People with Lupus may experience fatigue and unintentional weight loss. However, most people tend to gain weight once they are treated for Lupus. Consult our doctor if you do not gain weight after treatment. Your doctor may place you on a special meal to help you gain more weight.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease occurs when your system fails to produce mineralocorticoids to meet the body’s demands. People with the disorder experience a few symptoms like extreme fatigue, salt craving, and low blood pressure. Such individuals also experience darkening of the skin folds and decreased appetite. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and joint and muscle pain are other symptoms.

The disease tends to cause severe weight shedding. However, you may tend to gain more weight with low cortisol levels. A patient with Addison’s disease loses weight due to vomiting and anorexia.

You can manage your condition by avoiding stress, monitoring sugar levels, and sticking to the proper meal. Also, consult your medical practitioner or nutritionist for advice on the best ways to manage your symptoms.


According to the American Cancer Society, most people report an unexplained loss in weight when first diagnosed with cancer. Additionally, more than 80% of cancer individuals shed weight in advanced cancer stages. These individuals also experience a phenomenon known as wasting (cachexia) which accompanies weight and muscle loss.

The cancers usually associated with weight loss pills include cancers of the lung, pancreas, stomach, and esophagus. Cancer Research UK reports that 60% of people with lung cancer tend to emaciate significantly by diagnosis. Also, about 80% of people with pancreatic, esophageal, or stomach cancer tend to emaciate significantly by the time they get diagnosed.

Chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment can also cause the weight of individuals to deteriorate. The deterioration in weight may occur due to the side effects of these processes. These side effects tend to discourage eating. Some effects include nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, and fatigue.

You may need imaging scans and any other physical exam to determine the best medication for you. Thus, you should consult your doctor immediately if you notice any health issues.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of diseases that cause breathing problems due to blocked airways. According to the CDC, COPD is among the leading causes of death in the United States.

Symptoms of this disease include chronic phlegm, cough, and shortness of breath. Moreover, about 20-40% of people with COPD tend to shed more weight than the safe levels of weight loss. Furthermore, weight reduction may lead to muscle loss and a drastic decline in the quality of life. Since the individuals have difficulty breathing, they may also experience heart dysfunction as part of their symptoms.

People with COPD can leverage several measures to prevent weight and muscle loss. Firstly, these individuals will have to manage their anorexia which comes as a result of breathing difficulties. Other factors that affect anorexia include COPD medications, preparing meals, and food not tasting as good as it used to.

The COPD Foundation notes that anorexia could cause an unhealthy cycle because the body breaks down muscles for fuel since it cannot get enough nutrients. Consequently, muscles become weaker, and this muscle weakness results in breathing difficulties.

People with COPD need to fix their breathing to improve food breakdown. An individual with a typical COPD case needs around 430 – 720 extra calories daily to survive. Since these people find breathing difficult, they have higher metabolic rates, and the combined effect can cause unwanted weight and muscle loss.

According to the American Lung Association, people with COPD are more prone to depression and anxiety. Since depression can cause weight and muscle loss, a person with depression and COPD may experience depreciation in their quality of life.

Heart Failure

There is indeed a connection between heart dysfunction and weight and muscle loss. The combination of heart failure and weight and muscle loss is called cardiac cachexia. This condition may cause serious complications for people living with other cardiovascular diseases.

Heart palpitations may occur due to cardiac cachexia. The condition entails the heart beating too fast, a feeling of fluttering in the chest or skipping beats. Though emaciation may not directly have anything to do with heart palpitations, some accompanying factors may. For example, exercise, diet pills, caffeine use, electrolyte abnormalities, nutritional disruptions, and other things can cause heart palpitations. Furthermore, some research reveals that low carbs may seriously increase a person’s risk for atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes symptoms of stroke and heart palpitations.

Does Emaciation Cause Heart Disease?

A study revealed an increased death rate in people with congestive heart failure who had experienced emaciation in their lives. The study compared the rate with people who did not experience emaciation. Consequently, they noted that the risk remained higher in obese people.

It is important to remember, however, that emaciation can occur unintentionally. For example, people with carcinoma may emaciate and die due to the condition.

Can heart failure cause emaciation?

People with heart failure can emaciate. As we earlier stated, the condition, cardiac cachexia, causes such individuals to suffer adverse effects. Cardiac cachexia can cause an individual to shed muscle mass and cause inflammation that affects several organs in the body.

A person with heart disease or failure needs to contact a doctor if they have emaciation issues. This emaciation could mean that they have cardiac cachexia. Moreover, a physician will ask the person questions to confirm each symptom before concluding.


A person with dementia needs a lot of energy because the condition is mentally challenging and energy-consuming. One of the factors closely associated with dementia is emaciation. Also, emaciation causes people to eat less during dementia.

Dementia patients need feeding since they cannot do so on their own. Since these people depend on other people to feed them, they may not get proper food. Hence, the result is emaciation which continues to grow as the condition worsens.

Other medical problems combined with dementia may cause emaciation. Furthermore, the combination of these diseases may make the problem worse. Such diseases as low or high sugar levels and hyperthyroidism can cause emaciation. Furthermore, the use of medication can also trigger emaciation. Medications for comorbid situations tend to cause anorexia while consuming them.

Although dementia already causes physiological strain, additional environmental conditions may lead to further mental degradation. Thus, the aggregation of these conditions causes emaciation. Additionally, physical pains experienced in different body parts can also cause emaciation.

Decreased fluid intake can also affect dementia patients. Not consuming enough fluids can lead to emaciation. Since our entire system consists of water, taking too little water poses a serious risk. In addition, concentrating on special meals can affect your physique. Some foods may not contain all the nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle. Hence, your system may experience some deficiencies that cause emaciation.

Other factors like chronic infections, loss of general sensation, cachexia, and others can lead to a deterioration in the quality of life of individuals. If you take care of a person with dementia, you must pay close attention to ensure they get everything they need. Proper care and love are the only way such people will remain healthy and without issues.

Conclusion: How Much Weight Loss Is Concerning? 

How much weight loss is concerning? We have found that one must not lose more than 5% of their total weight within 6-12 months. If you emaciate that much within a short period, you may have to consult your physician to get checked.

Several factors must be considered when checking for excessive weight loss, and health conditions include dementia, celiac disease, Addison’s disease, heart diseases, and COPD, among other things. There are several reviews you can have a look at like phen q reviews & exipure reviews.

Since emaciation has severe consequences, it is advisable always to report changes in your quality of life to your physician or nutritionist. Additionally, always exercise and eat healthy foods rich in nutrition to avoid complications relating to food consumption. People with underlying health problems should always perform routine checks to stay ahead of any situation and ensure to consult licensed professionals for external help and treatment.

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