Causes of Drastic Weight Loss and How to Overcome It

Causes of Drastic Weight Loss and How to Overcome It

Weight loss can occur through effort, such as diet or exercise. However, if the weight drops drastically without any particular effort to lose it, there may be a disease. This condition needs to be watched out for and find out the cause.

The limit for weight loss to watch out for is if it reaches 4.5 to 5 kg, or more than 5 percent of the initial weight, in a period of 6-12 months.

For example, if your initial weight is 70 kg, you need to be wary of losing up to 4 kg, even though you are not dieting or trying to lose weight.

Causes of Drastic Weight Loss

Drastic weight loss is one sign of malnutrition, which is a condition when the body lacks the nutrients it needs to function and repair itself. Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, can be one cause. Stress or major depression can also make you lose weight.

Apart from the reasons above, drastic weight loss can also indicate the following conditions:

Hormone disorders

Hormonal disturbances can cause excessive weight loss. are hyperthyroidism and diabetes.

Chronic disease

Drastic weight loss is one of the symptoms of chronic disease that indicates organ damage, such as heart failure, kidney failure, or liver failure. Patients with this disease usually experience a loss of appetite.

In addition, autoimmune diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can also cause drastic weight loss.

Gastrointestinal disease

Some intestinal disorders that cause drastic weight loss include gastric ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis. Problems with absorption of nutrients, such as in celiac disease, can also lead to drastic weight loss.


Infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Please note, not all infections can cause weight loss drastically. Infections that can cause the body to lose weight significantly include tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and intestinal worms.


Drastic weight loss can be a symptom of cancer, such as lymphoma, leukemia, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer.

Dental and oral disease

Toothache, gums, or canker sores do not directly cause weight loss, but can interfere with the process of chewing and swallowing food, making it difficult to eat. Poor oral hygiene can also make the mouth taste sour, resulting in reduced appetite.

Drug side effects

Long-term medication can affect weight. This can be caused by side effects of nausea and decreased appetite, due to the consumption of certain drugs. One of the drugs whose side effects cause weight loss is chemotherapy.

In addition, drug abuse and the habit of consuming alcohol can also cause unhealthy drastic weight loss.

Neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's dementia, can also cause significant weight loss, although indirectly as a result of reduced independence and the ability to perform basic activities, including eating.

Because there are many conditions and diseases that can cause drastic weight loss, this complaint needs to be checked by a doctor. The doctor will perform a complete physical examination, assessment of nutritional status, and investigations if necessary, to determine the cause.

How to Overcome Drastic Weight Loss

How to deal with drastic weight loss depends on the cause. In addition to overcoming the cause, what is also very important in the treatment of drastic weight loss is to improve nutrient and calorie intake, so that the body's needs are met.

To determine the target of weight gain, improvement of nutrition, and the provision of drugs to treat this condition, the participation of nutritionists and other specialists is required, according to the patient's illness. The doctor will determine the type, amount, and method of feeding, and give nutritional supplements if needed, to improve nutritional status.