Is Loss Of Appetite A Matter Of Concern? Read What Experts Have To Say

Long-term infections, such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, can cause appetite loss as well. (Image: Shutterstock)

Loss of appetite should not be taken lightly in any possible way because it could be a cause for several underlying issues and thus needs to be checked

There are times when you don’t feel like eating for days. But regular loss of appetite without any reason is a cause of concern, which many signify as a passing issue. However, it could be a sign that you may have a medical condition. Especially if it’s persistent, there may be underlying reasons behind your lack of interest in eating. This could be a signal of a mental health issue, a thyroid problem, or even cancer in rare cases.

As quoted by Hindustan Times, Associate Director-Internal Medicine of the Asian Hospital Faridabad, Dr Rajesh Kumar Budhiraja, said, “Loss of appetite is a common problem faced by many individuals at some point in their lives, often ignored as a passing issue. However, it may signify more than a fleeting phase, with the current study indicating a prolonged lack of interest in food could be a potential indicator of serious underlying health concerns.”

Elaborating further to the media outlet, Dr Budhiraja sheds light on the potential diseases that may be linked with the diminished appetite:

  1. Gastrointestinal ChallengesGastrointestinal problems might be the cause of an abrupt drop in appetite. Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastritis, and peptic ulcers can distress the digestive tract, causing discomfort and a reduced appetite. It is critical to address these issues as soon as possible in order to prevent further complications.
  2. Thyroid malfunctionDiminished appetite may be a result of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. The thyroid gland plays a quite crucial role in regulating metabolism, so any imbalance can result in a variety of symptoms, including loss of appetite. Thyroid diseases must be diagnosed and treated quickly to be effectively managed.
  3. Mental well-beingThe complex relationship between mental health and physical health is quite evident, with health conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress manifesting in physical symptoms such as a loss of appetite. Recognising this link is critical for addressing the underlying reason and finding appropriate support.
  4. Persistent infectionsLong-term infections, such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, can cause appetite loss as well. The body’s immunological reaction to these infections can disturb the normal functioning of the digestive system, emphasising the importance of identifying and treating the underlying infection as soon as possible.
  5. Cancer alertWhile caution is advised against hasty conclusions, an unexplained and sustained loss of appetite might raise concerns about some cancers. Reduced appetite is a common early sign of cancers that affect the digestive system, such as pancreatic or stomach cancer. Regular health check-ups and screenings are essential for the early detection and treatment of cancer.

Dr Budhiraja concluded by saying that loss of appetite should not be taken lightly, since it may be an early warning sign of serious underlying health problems. Whether the issue is related to gastrointestinal disorders, mental health concerns, thyroid dysfunction, persistent infections, or even cancer, seeking timely medical advice is critical. Monitoring overall well-being and addressing persistent changes in appetite with a healthcare professional can help in the early detection and management of potential health risks.

He went on to say that your body frequently communicates distress through subtle signals, and paying attention to these signals is a proactive step towards maintaining good health.

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