Medical Conditions | Uncategorized

Weight loss

Persistent decrease in body weight, in medical terms including only abnormal cases, not justifiable or desired weight loss. Weight loss can have many causes, by no means all of them dependent on conditions of the digestive organs. The conditions which may be responsible can be divided into two principal groups: malabsorption (difficulties in absorbing food and disorders of the intestinal mucous membrane) and malignant tumours of the intestines. Weight loss is characteristic of both groups, and in a number of cases the first symptom. Very occasionally conditions such as tapeworm can cause weight loss, as can metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism, and malignant tumours in other organs can also be responsible. Psychological causes (anorexia nervosa) are also possible. Clinical history is a major factor in determining the cause of weight loss, especially in the matter of associated symptoms: changes in the pattern of defecation such as diarrhoea and constipation, and the presence of blood or mucus in the faeces can indicate the cause. Further examination is needed for a definitive diagnosis.

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