5 Causes for Sudden, Rapid Weight Loss That You Should Know

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Being mindful of rapid and sudden weight loss is crucial. If you find yourself abruptly losing weight without knowing why it could be an indication of a developing health issue.

It could also be a warning that something in your diet or workout routine isn’t fostering a healthy, stable physique.

An ideal method to prevent placing stress on your body is to be mindful of weight gain and decrease. You won’t be able to look into the causes of your unexplained weight loss until you acknowledge that it has occurred.

Unintentional weight loss could be an indication of a serious medical condition, ranging from minor thyroid issues to severe problems like cancer.

It may sound like a dream come true to lose weight rapidly without even trying, but in actuality, this is an indication of a health issue. There are numerous factors that might contribute to rapid and sudden weight loss.

Here, we will be looking at some of the causes of unexplainable weight loss.

Causes for Sudden, Rapid Weight Loss

The following are some of the causes of sudden and rapid weight loss:

  1. Several Diseases


    A hormone known as insulin makes it possible for your body to use glucose as fuel. Your body uses insulin poorly if you have type two diabetes.

    Glucose builds up in the blood because your body is unable to deliver it to the cells.

    Your body assumes it is starving when the glucose does not reach the cells, so it finds a way to make up for it. It produces energy by rapidly metabolizing muscle and fat, which results in unexplained weight loss.

    Additionally, your kidneys start to work extra hard to flush out the extra sugar from your blood. This requires more energy and endangers the kidneys.

    Similar symptoms occur in type one diabetes, however, with this condition, your body completely stops manufacturing insulin instead of being unable to use it.

    People with type two diabetes could experience unexplained weight loss, but type one diabetic are more likely to experience it.

    The unexpected weight loss in a child with type one diabetes could be easily noticed by the child’s parents.

    Addison’s Disease

    The adrenal glands are harmed by Addison’s disease and are unable to produce enough cortisol, the stress hormone.

    When you are stressed out, your body struggles due to a lack of cortisol and instead of going through the typical stress reaction, you become ill and experience lightheadedness, dizziness, and nausea.

    The combination of these symptoms could make you very sick and therefore, those who have Addison’s disease may experience sudden weight loss.


    It could be a sign of a serious issue if someone reports sudden weight loss but denies making any changes to their diet and exercise regimen. They may also claim that their medications are stable.

    The probability of them having cancer becomes very high. As a result of cancer, rapid weight loss might happen. Cancer cachexia is a wasting disorder associated with several malignancies.

    It most commonly occurs in advanced cases of pancreatic, head and neck, lung, and colorectal malignancies as well as pancreatic and gastric tumors.


    Hyperthyroidism, also known as Grave’s Disease, is a hormonal disease that could lead to metabolism problems like-

    Excessive thyroid hormone production might occasionally be the cause of abrupt weight loss.

    Muscle weakness, anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, trouble sleeping, heat intolerance, mood swings, irregular or rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, and trembling hands are other signs of hyperthyroidism.

    Go to the doctor for a checkup if you have sudden weight loss and additional symptoms like menstruation changes or extreme hunger.

    Treatment options for hyperthyroidism include oral medications, radioiodine therapy, and sometimes surgery.

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    Smoking is a common contributing factor in the development of chronic inflammatory lung disease, also known as COPD. Breathing issues, wheezing, and coughing are among the symptoms.

    COPD has been seen to cause very rapid weight loss affecting health immensely. Patients require a high-calorie diet as they become more malnourished and their sickness progresses.

    Respiratory therapy, medication, and nutrition advice are used to treat COPD.


    The esophagus, the tube that connects your stomach to the back of your throat, is harmed by this condition.

    When you eat, the nerves at the end of the esophagus are intended to relax so the food could go into your stomach.

    However, in achalasia patients, the nerves degenerate and prevent food from entering the stomach. Achalasia means inability to relax in Latin.

    The end outcome is significant chest tightness that makes people reluctant to eat. People experience severe weight loss as a result of this and it gets worse with time.

  2. Muscle Loss

    Sometimes unexpected weight loss is due to muscle loss rather than fat loss, which could have a lot of negative health effects.

    We do not want to promote muscle loss in the body, which could occur if we lose weight too quickly.

    Losing muscle mass could lead to a variety of problems, including a slowed metabolism, nutritional inadequacies, and gallstones.

    Additionally, inadvertent muscle loss could be a symptom of more serious conditions, such as AIDS, HIV, or congestive heart failure.

    Get checked out by your doctor if you’re feeling more weak or tired lately, or if you’ve noticed a disproportionate amount of muscle loss recently.

  3. Poor Mental Health

    Other than issues with your physical health, diseases that influence your mental health may also contribute to unexpected weight loss.

    Weight loss and depression are often related since people who are depressed frequently experience a loss of interest in food and appetite.

    Along with anxiety, anger, and discouragement, other symptoms of depression that would accompany sudden weight loss may include a lack of motivation, low self-esteem, and low mood.

  4. Nutritional Deficiency

    If your body is deprived of the vital nutrients it needs for proper function then you might lose a lot of weight quickly.

    Additionally, a lack of essential minerals like calcium or vitamin D might make you more vulnerable to damage and increase your chance of contracting certain illnesses.

    Anemia, which is characterized by sudden weight loss, and sensations of fainting and weakness that could happen when you do not get enough iron, is one such example of an illness connected to nutritional deficiencies.

  5. Intestinal Problems

    Unintentional weight loss might result from intestinal health issues. For instance, Crohn’s disease could cause diarrhea and nausea, which could decrease appetite.

    At the same time, your body may have trouble absorbing nutrients, making it challenging to meet your nutritional needs.

    Another digestive problem that causes sudden weight loss is celiac disease because the damage that gluten causes to your intestinal lining prevents nutrients from being absorbed.

    Your doctor might recommend tests for celiac disease and Crohn’s disease if you experience symptoms connected to your digestive system.


An underlying persistent health problem is usually the cause of rapid and sudden weight loss. But short-term ailments like a cold or the flu might also make you lose weight.

Sudden and rapid weight loss, particularly if it is significant or chronic, may indicate a medical issue. It’s hard to say exactly when unexplained weight loss turns into a medical issue.

But most medical professionals concur that, especially if you’re elderly, a medical checkup is required if you lose more than 6%of your body weight in 6 months to 1 year.

If you have noticed sudden and rapid weight loss, you should immediately consult with a doctor to find out the reason.

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