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Unexpected, unintentional or unplanned weight loss

Stepping on the scales and finding you've lost weight can be a good thing if you've been dieting or taking other steps to lose weight.

However, if you've lost weight, and hadn't planned to do so, it can be a sign of a medical problem.

Our body weight goes up and down a little, naturally from day-to-day. However, unexplained loss of around 5% of original body weight over 6 months to a year should be investigated by a doctor.

Unplanned or unintentional weight loss may be from a decrease in body fluid, muscle mass or body fat.

Causes of unplanned weight loss include:

Symptoms that may accompany unplanned weight loss include a loss of appetite, fatigue and changes in bowel habits.

Weight loss due to a long-term illness is known as cachexia and medical advice should be sought.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 22, 2017

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