Weight loss, in a medical context, refers to a reduction of the total mass of the body; This is caused by the reduction of: fluids, body fat (FAT and/or fatty tissue) and lean (i.e. mineral deposits into bone, muscle, tendons and other connective tissue).
Weight loss can occur unintentionally, as a result of an illness, either by a conscious effort and aims to improve a State of actual (or perceived) Overweight/obesity.
The so called “unexplained weight loss”, which is not caused by the reduction in caloric intake than the energy expenditure (voluntary or not), it is called cachexia and can be a serious medical symptoms.
Intentional weight loss is commonly identified as weight loss but, in compliance with the requirements mentioned in the introduction, is a totally different process from cachexia.
Unintentional weight loss can be the result of actual weight loss (depletion of body fat), or loss of body fluids, muscle atrophy or even a combination of these.
Unintentional weight loss is considered a medical problem when it happens: at least 10% of the total mass in six months, or at least 5% in the last month.
Another medical criterion used to assess the suitability of the total weight (in normal adult subjects, not in children much less in athletes) is the body mass index (BMI). This provides for the classification of the patient within one of the following categories (representatives of the range): underweight, normal weight and overweight. It appears that, within the same category, can be a rather important variation (eg. 10 kg). On the other hand, in certain elderly, similar or even lower fluctuations within the normal weight may be more worrisome than interpreted by BMI.
Unintentional weight loss can occur due to an insufficiently nutritious diet, as a result of malnutrition.
Can cause unintentional weight loss also: pathological processes, changes in metabolism, hormonal changes, medications or other treatments, pathological changes and decreased appetite.
Intestinal malabsorption can lead to unintentional weight loss and can be caused by: fistulas, diarrhea, drug-nutrients, absence or insufficiency enzymatic and mucosal atrophy.
As anticipated, the unintentional weight loss, progressive and exhausting, is sometimes called cachexia. This differs from the weight loss for the presence of a systemic inflammatory response and is often related to diagnostic inauspicious outcomes.
In advanced stages of a progressive disease, metabolism may change resulting in weight loss by means of a balanced diet, without increasing the feeling of hunger. This condition is called the: anorexia cachexia syndrome (ACS), often impossible to cure even through integration.
Symptoms of unintentional weight loss for ACS include: severe muscle depletion, loss of appetite and a sense of satiety, nausea, anemia, weakness and fatigue visit this site