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Unexplained Weight Loss and Diabetes

We always think weight loss is a good thing. Weight loss post an individualised diet or physical activity is good for the heart, blood pressure, cholesterol etc. But an unintentional decrease in the body weight; without the help of any specialised diet or physical activity is not good and is known as unexplained weight loss. Such weight loss can be an alarming sign. As we reach middle age our weight remains reasonably the same with little fluctuations year after year. But a significant gain or loss in the weight could be the cause of an underlying medical condition.

Various causes of unexplained weight loss in diabetes are:
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hyper/Hypothyroidism
  • Eating Disorders

In people with diabetes, insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood into the body’s cells to use as energy. As a result, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight. Unexpected weight loss is often noticed in people prior to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes but it may also affect people with Type 2 diabetes.
For patients with diabetes, high blood sugar leads to excessive urination. This results in dehydration and weight loss. Similarly, high blood sugars can also result in muscle breakdown and hence weight loss. Actually, unexplained weight loss is the one of the first signs of diabetes and should not be ignored. In such a case one must visit the physician for further evaluation.

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