We tend to focus so much on obesity and being overweight that being chronically thin or experiencing sudden weight loss is overlooked. Carrying around extra pounds is most often tied to health complications, but being underweight, or suddenly dropping pounds without an obvious explanation, can be a sign of a bigger problem.
While some people are just naturally slender (and that’s perfectly okay), others may have contributing factors that may require a visit to the doctor’s office. Here are some health conditions that can cause unexpected weight loss…
1. Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism as it’s known in the medical community, occurs when your thyroid produces too much of a hormone called thyroxine, notes the Mayo Clinic. This causes your body’s metabolism to increase and burn calories faster, which then leads to a sudden drop in weight or being chronically underweight.
The clinic notes that an overactive thyroid throws off the chemical balance in your body, which can cause other symptoms like anxiety and increased sensitivity to heat. In women it can lead to irregular menstrual cycles or brittle hair. Hyperthyroidism can be harder to diagnose in older adults, but can be traced to an increased heart rate, explained the clinic.