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Weight Loss

  • Date Submitted: 01/30/2012 05:00 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 42.5 
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Weight loss
Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health or physical fitness, is a reduction of the total body mass, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue and/or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon and other connective tissue. It can occur unintentionally due to an underlying disease or can arise from a conscious effort to improve an actual or perceived overweight or obese state.

Unintentional weight loss occurs in many diseases and conditions, including some very serious diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and a variety of other diseases.

Poor management of type 1 diabetes mellitus, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), leads to an excessive amount of glucose and an insufficient amount of insulin in the bloodstream. This triggers the release of triglycerides from adipose (fat) tissue and catabolism (breakdown) of amino acids in muscle tissue. This results in a loss of both fat and lean mass, leading to a significant reduction in total body weight. Untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus can produce weight loss. In addition to weight loss due to a reduction in fat and lean mass, fluid loss can be triggered by illnesses such as diabetes, certain medications, lack of fluid intake or other factors. Fluid loss in addition to reduction in fat and lean mass exacerbates the risk for cachexia.[1]

Infections such as HIV may alter metabolism, leading to weight loss.[2]

Hormonal disruptions, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), may also exhibit as weight loss.[3]

One cutoff value of where unintentional weight loss is of significant concern is where there's a weight loss of more than 5% in the past month, or at least 10% during the last 6 months

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