Unexplained Weight Loss: Could it be Diabetes?

Weight loss is generally seen as a good thing. Achieving a healthy weight through regular exercise and a nutritious diet has numerous benefits for overall wellness, but what about weight loss that’s unintentional?

Small fluctuations in weight — a couple of pounds one way or another — are normal. But, if you’ve lost more than 10 pounds, and you haven’t ramped up your fitness routine or changed your diet, it could be a sign that something’s wrong.

In fact, unexplained weight loss could be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes is a common metabolic condition that affects the way your body uses sugar from the foods you eat. Diabetes is a chronic condition, and it can cause numerous health problems — from nerve damage to vision changes — if left untreated. If you notice unexplained weight loss or other symptoms, it’s important to visit the doctor.

At Creekside Family Practice in Cypress and Tomball, Texas, Hammad Qureshi, MD, and our team specialize in providing primary care and diabetes management services. If you’ve noticed unintentional weight loss, it’s time to get a professional opinion.

How diabetes can cause weight loss

Insulin is a hormone the body produces to absorb sugar, or glucose, from the foods you eat. Insulin converts sugar into energy that fuels your brain, muscles, and the rest of your body.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. As a result, the sugar stays in your bloodstream instead of being converted into energy, and your blood sugar rises.

Because the sugar stays in your blood, your body doesn’t get the fuel it needs. As a result, it begins burning fat and muscle for energy, which can result in unexplained weight loss.

The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, the body produces little or no insulin because the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells. Type 1 diabetes often develops in early childhood. 

With Type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to it. This type of diabetes often occurs later in life and is thought to develop due to lifestyle factors — such as being overweight and inactive — as well as genetic factors.

Other signs of diabetes

Unexplained weight loss rarely occurs on its own. If this happens to you, you should look for other potential signs that you may have diabetes, including the following:

Frequent urination

If your blood sugar is too high, your kidneys work overtime to filter out the excess sugar. This process creates more urine, making you feel the urge to urinate more frequently.

Constant thirst

Because of the frequent urination, this can dehydrate you. And dehydration can cause constant, unquenchable thirst, which is another sign of diabetes.

Other symptoms can include tingling or numbness in your hands or feet as well as blurry vision. These symptoms can be the result of nerve damage caused by uncontrolled high blood sugar.

If you have unexplained weight loss, don’t ignore it. Make an appointment with our team at Creekside Family Practice to find out if you have diabetes. If you do, we can develop a treatment plan to help you manage your condition. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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