Unintended loss of weight

My two-cents Rx

With Benj. S. Bangahan, M.D., FPCP, FPCCP

Some people just notice themselves losing weight despite their appetite still being as good as it used to be, and  without them being able to link any reason why, or even any possible factor that can lead to such an unexpected physiologic  change.Their becoming rather perturbed is understandable enough, for even if some involuntary weight losses have been found to have no pathological or disease-related causes, some of them are indeed associated with serious pathologic processes.  

Because significant weight loss has not been exactly agreed upon, in this regard, it is defined as a loss of five percent of the usual body weight in a span of about six months. In order to be more defining, some criteria have been set and at least two of them must be met:  (1) the patient is able to quantify his weight loss, (2) the patient manifests clear physical evidences of the weight loss, (3) a relative is able to verify the weight loss.

This particular complaint has been clinically studied purposely to discover and document  any disease entities that are possibly related to it and could be playing some roles in the development of the symptom.  In one study using hospitalized patients, indeed it was found that organic diseases were predominantly responsible for the symptom, and mentioned among the diseases are diabetes mellitus and some cancerous process like one that involves the breast; involvement of the thyroid has also been mentioned, especially in a hyperactive state. In another study using only non-hospitalized patients, what was observed was a considerable number of non-physical causes, most especially mental illnesses. It is here where a detailed psychological questioning becomes necessary. In all the studies, however, there was a common finding — that is, in some cases no causes could be associated with the loss of weight.  While this can be, at first look, considered an alleviating finding, in that therefore appeasing to the patients since this does not jolt them physically, clinically and financially, it is nonetheless still  a reason for the doctors to do extra efforts to make further searches for the cause – they have to be more meticulous in their clinical techniques and be more apt in using the more accurate laboratory ancillary examinations, in order to be able to discover more. For one thing, such patients are followed up regularly about every one or two months for any changes of the weight.

Unintended weight loss, as a part of being cautious and preventive, is a clinical sign that must be given attention, for some of its organic causes, especially ones that are known to develop morbid stages, can have their complications obviated  when medically or surgically managed at early stage.

  * * * * * *

Today, Friday, July 31, 2020, is an official holiday nationally, in observance of the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, or,  IYD AL ADHA, the annual performance of one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is unfortunate that, because of the calamity brought about by the Corona Virus, only the people who are presently residents in Arabia are permitted to perform the obligation. Nonetheless, I would like to extend my personal prayer for the entire Islamic Ummah: MAY THE ALMIGHTY ALLĀH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL GOD, SHOWER HIS BLESSINGS UPON US HIS UMMAH, ABROGATE OUR PAINS, ERASE OUR DISTRESS, MAKE THOSE IN THEIR SIMPLE HOMES LIVE IN QUIET COMFORT SANS ANXIETY THAT THEY AND THEIR HOMES COULD BE DESTROYED BY THOSE WITH EVIL HEARTS, HELP THOSE WHOSE ABODES HAVE BEEN RANSACKED FIND BEDS TO SLEEP IN, STRENGTHEN THE  WEAK TO BETTER STAND AGAINST THE STRONG,  AND FOREVER LIVE WITH THE CONVICTION THAT YOU ALONE ALLĀH AWJ IS THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL OF EXISTENCE, AND WITH THAT THOUGHT ALONE, WE LIVE, TRAVEL AND END IN COMPLETE PERSONAL CONTENTMENT…. AMIYN.


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