Weight loss - unintentional


Unexplained weight loss is a decrease in body weight, when you did not try to lose the weight on your own.

Many people gain and lose weight. Unintentional weight loss is loss of 10 pounds OR 5% of your normal body weight over 6 to 12 months or less without knowing the reason.


A loss of appetite may be due to:

Chronic digestive system problems that decrease the amount of calories and nutrients your body absorbs, including:

Other causes such as:

Home Care

Your health care provider may suggest changes in your diet and an exercise program depending on the cause of your weight loss.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:

The health care provider will do a physical exam and check your weight. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

You may need to see a dietitian for nutrition advice.

Review Date: 1/31/2015
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, medical director and director of didactic curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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