Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Unplanned Weight Loss
Unplanned weight loss means losing weight without trying to. It may be caused by a medical problem, so be sure to see your doctor if you are losing weight without trying.
If you are losing weight because you're exercising more or eating less, it is considered normal weight loss.
Lots of medical problems can cause you to lose weight without trying. These include an overactive thyroid gland, long-term infections, mouth or throat problems that make it hard to eat, digestive problems, depression, diabetes, COPD, and cancer.
Other causes of unplanned weight loss include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, alcohol or drug abuse, and emotional stress and anxiety.
In older adults, memory problems such as dementia can lead to weight loss.
If another problem is causing your weight loss, your doctor will treat that problem. Your doctor may also suggest a change in what you eat. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medicines that help you gain weight.
Talk to your doctor about what you can do to gain weight. Your doctor may suggest that you see a dietitian, who can help you develop a meal plan that fits your lifestyle.
Avoid using expensive supplements for quick weight gain.
If your doctor says it's okay, find ways to eat more high-calorie, nutritious foods. These foods include:
Talk to your doctor if:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital.