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weight loss related diseases

Weight loss issues related to specific diseases include:

  • As chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) advances, about 35% of patients experience severe weight loss called pulmonary cachexia, including diminished muscle mass. Around 25% experience moderate to severe weight loss, and most others have some weight loss. Greater weight loss is associated with poorer prognosis. Theories about contributing factors include appetite loss related to reduced activity, additional energy required for breathing, and the difficulty of eating with dyspnea (labored breathing).
  • Cancer, a very common and sometimes fatal cause of unexplained (idiopathic) weight loss. About one-third of unintentional weight loss cases are secondary to malignancy. Cancers to suspect in patients with unexplained weight loss include gastrointestinal, prostate, hepatobillary (hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic cancer), ovarian, hematologic or lung malignancies.
  •  AIDS can cause weight loss and should be suspected in high-risk individuals presenting with weight loss.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders are another common cause of unexplained weight loss – in fact they are the most common non-cancerous cause of idiopathic weight loss. Possible gastrointestinal etiologies of unexplained weight loss are celiac disease, peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease (crohns disease and ulcerative colitis), pancreatitis, gastritis, diarrhea and many other GI conditions can cause weight loss.
  • Infection. Some infectious diseases can cause weight loss. These include fungal illness, endocarditis, many parasitic diseases, AIDS, and some other sub-acute or occult infections may cause weight loss.
  • Renal disease. Patients who have uremia often have poor or absent appetite, emesis and nausea. This can cause weight loss.
  • Cardiac disease. Cardiovascular disease, especially congestive heart failure, may cause unexplained weight loss.
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Neurologic disease, including dementia.
  • Stress can cause weight loss. However, recent research (Jastebott, Potenza et al. 2010) shows a correlation between obesity and high levels of stress.
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