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September 19, 2018

Weight Loss: Emergency Room Tips

Weight Loss: Emergency Room Tips

Weight loss happens when the body is using more energy in metabolism than it is absorbing from food or other nutrients. As a result, the fat and muscles reserves in the body starts to be used thus leading to gradual weight loss.

Everyone wants to achieve an appearance they consider more attractive through weight loss. Fast weight loss requires extraordinary efforts in exercise and diet that could be unhealthy.

On the other hand, weight loss can also be caused by a reduction in the amount of fluids, fat or muscle mass in the body. Being underweight is often associated with health risks such as low immunity to fight off infections, decreased muscle strength, osteoporosis, and an increased risk of death altogether.

Your overall health, calorie intake, activity level, age, and economic and social factors will largely determine your weight.

There are two categories of weight loss

Deliberate weight loss occurs from dieting and exercise that is mostly experienced by overweight or obese children and adults. Intentional weight loss can help reduce knee pain and increase movement in patients with osteoarthritis. It can also assist in lowering high blood pressure (hypertension).

Unintentional weight loss can be a manifestation of illness or malnourishment.  A reduction of fats or fluids in the body could be as a result of medications, lack of adequate food or fluid intake, increased metabolism, malabsorption or a combination of them all.

Causes of Weight loss

As noticed by patients that seek treatment at FrontLine ER, pinpointing a specific cause of weight loss is hard as it can be a blend of things that lead to a general weakening of your health.

Medical and nonmedical factors like changes in hormones, metabolism, disease processes, and other treatments can also lead to unintentional weight loss.  Some of the few potential causes of unexplained weight loss include:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease pancreatitis, and diarrhea
  • Depression, adrenal insufficiency
  • Cancer, diabetes
  • A renal illness like uremia
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart failure
  • HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and tuberculosis
  • Medications, substance abuse such as alcohol or cocaine

Weight loss in children is always a source of concern unless its obese children who are losing weight under doctor’s instructions. It can also be because of change in appetite, abdominal pain, fever and fussiness over a specific type of food.

Symptoms of Weight Loss

Signs of weight loss can differ due to the underlying condition. A common way by which you can notice a change in weight is through the shape of the face or the fitting of clothes.

Here are of the symptoms to look out for:

  • A headache, bone and jaw pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Increased thirst and urination

When Is Weight-loss considered an Emergency?

Patients may not notice that they have lost weight unless it is brought to their attention by their doctors, friends or family members. If you find yourself losing weight without any effort, you should be very concerned and should immediately consult your doctor at FrontLine ER.

Older adults, who lose more than 5 % of their average weight within six months, should be examined by a medical doctor as it may be an indication of serious underlying health issues.

Another criterion used to assess low body weight that is too low is the body mass index (BMI).

Treatment of Weight Loss at Frontline ER

On arrival at FrontLine ER, the emergency physician will conduct a thorough medical history, a physical examination, as well as the necessary lab tests.

The medical assessment includes possible physical and psychological causes such as depression. A few of the investigations that may be carried out to rule out underlying diseases may include:

  • Imaging tests to look for any hidden cancers
  • Fasting blood glucose to check for diabetes mellitus
  • LFTs, clotting screen to check for liver failure.

These investigations will depend on your health condition. FrontLine ER doctors can conduct further tests that could include endoscopy, HIV serology, and autoimmune disease screen tests.

Any suspicion of severe underlying causes will prompt urgent referral for further evaluation in secondary care.

If the essential evaluation is negative, watchful waiting for the next six months is a reasonable next step. A special diet may be recommended to help you regain your lost pounds or prevent further weight loss.

Complications

Prolonged weight loss that is not caused by a reduction in calorific intake or exercise may depreciate into wasting; a condition called cachexia which is a symptom of a severe medical disease.

It’s important to note that, cachexia is different from starvation because it involves a systemic inflammatory response. In the advanced stages of this disease, metabolism changes such that, the victims continue losing weight even when they are getting adequate nutrition. The illness then progresses to a condition known as anorexia-cachexia syndrome (ACS), which cannot be treated by starting a new diet or supplementation.

According to FrontLine ER, severe weight loss reduces the quality of life, weaken treatment effectiveness and recovery, or worsen the condition thus leading to increased disease mortality rates. Seek immediate help while you can!

Emergency Care, Emergency Room