What is considered a dramatic weight loss

Cachexia – drastic weight loss, which is characterized by extreme depletion of the body, weakness, decreased activity of physiological processes, changes in the psyche.

It is usually diagnosed in those who themselves do not seek weight loss. Causes may be dictated by lifestyle or illness. The treatment being administered is completely dependent on them. After elimination of the provoking factor, body weight gradually normalizes. In 5% of cases, the pathology is fatal. Therefore, it is important to recognize it in a timely manner and contact the appropriate specialist.

Before visiting the doctor, try to independently analyze what could lead to a dramatic weight loss. There is a classification of possible causes that are worth reading and considering whether they have a place to be in your life.



Sharp weight loss is often associated with nutrition. What can provoke him:

  • any diet – even the one that was originally declared as benign: each organism reacts differently to a decrease in calories;
  • substandard food: canned food, instant noodles, rancid butter, expired products, etc .;
  • malnutrition: lack of food can be caused not only by financial problems – in times of time, people often just forget to eat;
  • improper eating habits: lack of meal schedules, chaotic food;
  • the transition to raw foods or vegetarianism, if it was not correct and gradual, as the daily caloric content drops sharply, and the body does not have time to adapt to new conditions;
  • following a long fast.

If there is any doubt whether you are eating properly and if this could have led to a drastic weight loss, contact a nutritionist for help.

Drastic changes in life

This may be a move to another climate zone, a long illness with bed rest, an unexpected fascination with some kind of sport. This plunges the body into a state of stress, and it begins to seek out additional resources. Metabolism is accelerated, leading to rapid weight loss.


The effect of many drugs is suppression of appetite and inhibition of activity. Their uncontrolled and prolonged intake leads to depletion of the body and a fairly rapid weight loss.

Such remedies include:

  • hormonal tablets for the treatment of the thyroid gland: Tyrosol, Propitsil, Iodoflor, L-thyroxin, Eutirox;
  • laxatives;
  • chemotherapy drugs;
  • brain activity stimulants: Phenibut, Modafenil, Piracetam, etc.

Such drugs should be used exclusively on prescription and in a strictly limited time.

Bad habits

Smoking more than 1 pack per day for many years can also lead to severe weight loss. The appetite decreases, the taste sensations are dulled, nicotine impairs the absorption of useful substances into the blood, the central nervous system is in a state of depression.

When alcoholism is the strongest intoxication of the whole organism. The liver and stomach suffer, which in such conditions cannot fully absorb nutrients, metabolism is disturbed.

Drug addicts have only one goal – to get a dose. Often they don’t even remember the last time they ate something. Immunity decreases, tissues atrophy – everything leads to painful weight loss.


Hormonal disbalance

Sharp weight loss from hormones can be observed in both men and women. Recognize the violations will help the symptoms:

  • female masculinization / male feminization;
  • decreased libido;
  • erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia;
  • infertility;
  • irritability, drowsiness, fatigue, tearfulness;
  • depression of emotional background;
  • deterioration of intellectual abilities.

If women hormonal failure occurs during periods of life (during pregnancy, after childbirth, as a result of menopause), then for men it occurs mainly after 55 years when they are diagnosed with menopause.

The main treatment regimen is hormone replacement therapy.


Most often talk about obesity with diabetes mellitus, but this disease can provoke weight loss, and quite fast and significant. This is due to metabolic disorders. Symptoms:

  • frequent urination;
  • thirst;
  • constant fatigue, drowsiness, fatigue;
  • slow wound healing.

Diabetics are for life doomed to a diet. In diabetes mellitus type I, hormone replacement therapy is prescribed; in case of diabetes, hypoglycemic drugs.


There is such a problem with pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. If you have lost weight dramatically, other symptoms will help to suspect this disease:

  • severe abdominal pain;
  • hiccups, belching, dry mouth, nausea, frequent vomiting with bile;
  • pressure drop;
  • dyspnea;
  • specific plaque on the tongue;
  • sticky sweat;
  • earthy gray complexion.

Pancreatitis is a very dangerous disease that can provoke not only drastic weight loss, but also lead to hepatitis and peritonitis. When diagnosing it, inpatient treatment is required under the constant supervision of a physician. Therapy involves mandatory Pevzner diet No. 5P, droppers with saline solutions, protein concentrates, glucose, as well as antispasmodic drugs.


Any diseases of the gastrointestinal tract lead to serious changes in weight. Dramatic weight loss is quite possible even with gastritis, especially in the acute form. This is an inflammatory process in the gastric mucosa. It can be recognized by the following symptoms:

  • upper abdominal pain;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • unpleasant belching;
  • loss of appetite;
  • greyish white on tongue;
  • headache;
  • increased drooling;
  • heartburn;
  • constipation;
  • excessive sweating;
  • tachycardia.

To restore weight to the previous figures, you will have to treat gastritis. In the hospital, they usually wash the stomach and clean the intestines (hydrocolonotherapy). Of the drugs prescribed antibacterial, antihistamines, absorbents, antispasmodics.


One of the most frequent causes of drastic weight loss is the stress in which most modern people have to stay. Disorders in the family and at work, the race for the benefits of civilization, the total desire to "be like everyone else" – all this leads to nervous exhaustion. A person forgets to eat, does not find comfort in himself, longing eats him from the inside. This is how weight loss occurs.

Other symptoms of depression and neurosis:

  • headache;
  • chest pain;
  • irritability;
  • insomnia;
  • forgetfulness;
  • high blood pressure;
  • decreased libido;
  • fatigue;
  • anxiety;
  • bad mood, depression, apathy;
  • violation of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • carelessness

Combined therapy includes antidepressants, sedatives and homeopathic medicines.

Pulmonary diseases

Rapid weight loss is one of the symptoms of tuberculosis. In the absence of timely treatment, the disease is deadly. Differs treachery, as the initial stage can proceed completely unnoticed. Signs:

  • chest pain;
  • cough with thick mucus;
  • expectoration of blood;
  • excessive sweating (especially at night);
  • subfertile temperature.

Rapid weight loss is also often observed in pneumonia. His first signs are:

  • fever;
  • dyspnea;
  • cough;
  • chills;
  • fast fatiguability;
  • chest pain with a deep breath;
  • headaches.

Pneumonia is treated mainly with antibiotics, and tuberculosis with etiotropic chemotherapy.

These are the diseases that often lead to a sharp weight loss, but they are far from the only ones. This problem is also a symptom of other pathologies:

  • Sheehan syndrome;
  • gastrointestinal diseases: esophageal stenosis, Whipple syndrome, ulcerative colitis, gastroenteritis;
  • amyloidosis;
  • diffuse connective tissue diseases;
  • prolonged intoxication with purulent processes;
  • acantholytic pemphigus;
  • heart failure;
  • oncology;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • adrenal and thyroid insufficiency;
  • Aids.

To restore normal weight requires complex treatment, specific to each disease from this list.

Special cases

Causes in men

Causes of dramatic weight loss in men are most often dictated by excessive infatuation with bad habits: it may be smoking, alcoholism, drug addiction.

The second most common factor is stress. Believing themselves to be a strong sex, they keep feelings in themselves, not allowing emotions to spill out. As a result, they seem to melt from within, wasting a lot of energy on mental agony. Most often this occurs at the age of about 30 years when career growth, the birth of children, a crisis in marriage are piled on them.

And the last possible reason is a problem with the prostate gland.

Causes in women

The specific causes of dramatic weight loss in women are primarily related to the hormonal background during pregnancy, after childbirth and during menopause. Toxicosis in the first and third trimesters leads to the fact that the expectant mother cannot look at food. Persistent nausea and vomiting also cause loss of appetite. After the birth of the baby, the time of worries and troubles begins: there is a lot of work, and a huge amount of energy is spent on them, but there is no time to sit down and eat. During menopause, women are worried about the approaching old age. Against the background of hormonal changes after 40 years, this leads to a rapid loss of kilograms.

Causes in adolescents

With dramatic weight loss in adolescents, parents should be especially attentive. Sometimes they have a rapid jump in growth, for which the weight does not have time. It seems that he is losing pounds, although in fact they remain at the same level. This moment should not cause concern, since with time the physique will form and the physical indicators will normalize.

A really dangerous reason for drastically losing weight among teenagers is drug addiction. If there are no diseases that could provoke such a rapid weight loss, parents simply have to do everything to find out whether this has happened.

Among adolescent girls, the most common cause is anorexia and a painful desire to look like models.

Causes in the elderly

With the onset of old age, all processes in the body slow down, and metabolism as well. Therefore, weight loss after 50 years is considered quite natural. It is worth guarding if it is too sharp and the loss does not stop. In this case, you must undergo a medical examination. The most common causes of weight loss in old age are oncology, diabetes mellitus and loss of teeth (difficulties with chewing food entail serious digestive problems).

General symptoms

Regardless of the cause, a strong weight loss is always accompanied by a common clinical picture, in addition to the specific symptoms associated with the factor provocateur.

Loss of kilograms

First of all, a sharp weight loss indicates a problem. But there is one nuance here, and it prevents specialists from giving the exact number of kilograms and the period for which they disappear. These are individual features. For someone, a loss of 10 kg per month will not be a disaster if the body weight exceeds 150 kg. But for a normal weight category (50-60 kg), this mark will already become critical. Therefore, generally accepted indicators are very conditional.

Drastic weight loss is a loss of more than 10 kg per month, and it is already quite critical when you urgently need to go to an appointment with a therapist, who will redirect to the right specialist, identifying the main cause of this phenomenon. The physiological norm without harm to health is a weight loss of 1 kg per week, not more. It is worth guarding if the scales showed a difference of 5-9 kg in 30 days, listen to your own body and just in case to undergo an examination in order to exclude dangerous pathologies.

In order not to be attached to specific figures, some experts believe that cachexia can be diagnosed with a loss of 20% of the initial body weight.

To date, the question of which weight loss is considered drastic is an open one, studies are being conducted, the purpose of which is to name more accurate and universal figures.

The remaining signs

Common symptoms of drastic weight loss include:

  • weakness, decreased performance;
  • dehydration;
  • a marked decrease or complete disappearance of the subcutaneous tissue;
  • hypovitaminosis, anemia;
  • changes in appearance: deterioration of the skin, which becomes wrinkled, flabby, pale, or sallow gray; trophic hair of the head, nail plates;
  • stomatitis;
  • constipation;
  • decreased sexual function;
  • amenorrhea in women;
  • kidney disease;
  • mental disorders: asthenia, irritability, tearfulness, depressive mood, anxious and melancholy states, up to dimness of consciousness.

Depending on the severity of the course, cachexia may eventually acquire other forms and develop into other diseases associated with weight loss: alimentary dystrophy, anorexia, panhypopituitarism, Simmonds disease, and protein-energy deficiency.

General treatment

The first measures that should be taken with a dramatic weight loss – finding out the possible causes and visiting the doctor. The first treatment will be aimed at eliminating the underlying disease. Along the way, it will also include general therapeutic issues.

What is considered a dramatic weight loss

Therapeutic diet

  • Catering, which must be correct, balanced, as useful as possible;
  • The diet should include vitamins, fats and proteins;
  • emphasis is placed on natural products: vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, milk;
  • they must be easily digested so as not to burden the stomach, whose work is abnormally lost during drastic weight loss;
  • Meals are organized strictly by the hour to develop proper eating habits.


  • Multienzyme preparations (pancreatin) in violation of digestion;
  • in severe conditions, droppers and intramuscular injections of glucose, electrolytes, vitamins, protein hydrolysates, amino acid mixtures;
  • anabolic steroid;
  • drugs to increase appetite;
  • psychotropic drugs to restore emotional balance.

Exercise therapy

Includes exercises that provide the most rapid muscle recovery, adaptation to household physical exertion. The goal is to avoid atrophy of muscle fibers and promote their growth as weight gains. The main rule is the amplitude and the pace of any movements increases gradually. The program usually includes:

  • morning exercises;
  • therapeutic walking (no more than 1000 m);
  • measured walks;
  • walking upstairs (not above 3 floors);
  • ball games;
  • quiet running (within 500 m);
  • exercises at the wall, on the bench, with or without weight.

In addition to all of the above, doctors offer these patients to get rid of bad habits and check the level of anxiety in all to eliminate depressive and stressful states.

We must initially understand that a dramatic weight loss should not be compared with a cold or a runny nose: it will soon pass by itself! If you do not identify and eliminate the cause, do not engage in treatment, the situation will only worsen and may be fatal.


You need to know the danger of drastic weight loss in order to present possible risks and not to delay treatment. The most frequent consequences:

  • alopecia;
  • amenorrhea;
  • anemia;
  • infertility;
  • hypovitaminosis;
  • hypotension;
  • hormonal disbalance;
  • stretch marks, sagging skin;
  • exhaustion;
  • metabolic disease;
  • dehydration;
  • digestive problems;
  • mental disorders;
  • decrease in sexual function up to frigidity and impotence.

In the absence of treatment, the forecasts are the most disappointing: deaths due to complete dehydration or exhaustion of the body, as well as the result of deadly diseases that caused a dramatic weight loss (tuberculosis, oncology, etc.).

At first, the scales can make you happy when the process is just beginning, because rarely anyone is happy with their weight. But if the loss of kilograms occurs too swiftly, it is time to sound the alarm, urgently look for the causes and eliminate them in order to avoid the consequences dangerous for health and life.

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