Weight Loss in Diabetes – Unexplained Weight Loss (Causes & Symptoms)

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weight loss in diabetes
Weight loss by diabetes usually known as unexplained weight loss which means decrease in body weight that occurs unintentionally and can be a warning sign of diabetes.

The amount you weigh is determined by a number of factors including age, your calorie intake and overall health.
Once you reach middle adulthood, your weight should remain relatively stable from year to year.
Losing or gaining a few pounds weight is normal matter, but unexplained weight loss that is significant (10 lbs / 4.6 kg or more or over 5-6% of your body weight) or persistent may signal an underlying medical condition or it can be cause of weight loss in diabetes.
In simple language we can say that “unexplained (weight loss in diabetes) weight loss means weight loss that occurs without trying through dieting or any exercising”.

Why Weight Loss in Diabetes?

In human body insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use glucose (sugar) for energy.
If you’ve type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin effectively, and can’t transport the glucose (sugar) to the cells. Instead, it builds up in the blood.
When the glucose (sugar) doesn’t arrive in your cells, your body thinks it’s starving and finds a way to compensate. It creates energy by burning fat and muscle at a rapid pace. This causes unexplained weight loss or weight loss due to diabetes.
Your kidneys also begin working overtime to eliminate the excess sugars in the blood. This uses additional energy and can cause damage to the kidneys.
Type 1 diabetes has a similar pattern, but instead of being unable to use insulin, your body stops producing it altogether.
Unexplained weight loss can occur in people who have type 2 diabetes, but it’s more commonly found in people with type 1. Parents are often the first to notice the unusual weight loss in a child with type 1 diabetes.

What Other Symptoms Should You Watch for?

Weight loss in diabetes is not usually a standalone symptom. It is typically accompanied by other signs and symptoms including:
  • Excessive thirst or hunger or urination.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Dark skin around the neck and armpits.
  • Slow healing of cuts and bruises.
  • Yeast infections.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Mood changes, including irritability.
  • Vision changes.

Always keep in your mind that unexplained weight loss isn’t normal.
It is a sign not only of diabetes but also indicates to other issues such as cancer or problems with your gastrointestinal tract, metabolism or thyroid. If you’re dropping weight and you don’t know why, contact with doctor as soon as possible.

What are the Possible Causes of weight loss in diabetes?

Weight loss from diabetes or unexplained weight loss can be caused by a number of things, including depression, certain medication and diabetes.
Potential causes of unexplained weight loss include:
  • Cancer
  • Addison’s disease
  • Coeliac disease
  • Dementia
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Infection
  • Malnutrition
  • Medicines, including chemotherapy drugs, laxatives, and thyroid medications
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Recreational drugs, including amphetamines, and cocaine
  • Smoking
  • Tuberculosis

When to call your doctor in case of weight loss by diabetes

If you’ve unintentionally lost more than 5-6% of your normal body weight, or more than 10 lbs (4.6 kg) in 6-12 months or less, you should contact with your doctor as soon as possible.
They will be able to identify what’s causing the weight loss (e.g. weight loss due to diabetes) and the best way to treat the problem.

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