Unintended Weight Loss
If you’ve been losing weight without actually trying, don’t pat yourself on the back and thank an improved metabolism just yet. When weight loss is unintended, it could mean a number of much less healthy things—one of those things being pancreatitis.
The pancreas is a gland, located on the left side of the abdomen, behind the stomach and above the small intestine. It is responsible for making digestive enzymes and hormones that help process glucose. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, this results in a condition called pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis often comes on quickly, with more extreme symptoms in a shorter periods of time. While abnormal weight loss may be possible with it, this symptom is more often found in patients with long-standing, chronic pancreatitis. This is a progressive form of pancreatitis that gets steadily worse.
It’s not uncommon for a loss of appetite to accompany pancreatitis, and this often plays a factor in unintended weight loss. Additionally, dealing with pancreatitis-induced vomiting and diarrhea can negatively impact your weight as well. If you are failing to get the necessary calories and carbohydrates to keep the body functioning, your body will eventually turn on itself and start taking fuel from wherever it can—including its own fat stores. If you haven’t been eating very well lately, make efforts to provide your body with more sustenance and see if things improve.
However, even if you do still have your normal appetite, if pancreatitis has set in, it doesn’t matter how much food you take in. The enzymes made by the pancreas are necessary for proper digestion—when this isn’t happening normally, the vitamins and minerals in your food aren't being absorbed normally either. Eventually, this can actually cause serious malnutrition, even if you’re eating what would otherwise be a healthy amount of food for a person in your situation.
Did you know...
- Have you ever told your husband something and he promptly forgets it? It's not his fault, actually. It really is because he's a man. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with memory) begins to shrink with age faster in men than it does in women. That's why you can remember everything, and he can't!
- There are many factors that contribute to your body odor, but one of the strongest links is our diet. This may be some bad news for meat-lovers because many studies have shown that those who refrained from or ate less red meat were judged as being more pleasant smelling. The meat sweats are real, and they don’t smell great!
- Do you know what the strongest muscle in your body is? No, it’s not your biceps or your thighs. It’s actually in your head. The masseter is a muscle in the jaw that is used when chewing. When all of the muscles of the jaw work together, they can exert a force as strong as 200 pounds on the molars. That’s some serious pressure.
- Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
- Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!