ZocdocAnswersWhat does it mean if I am losing weight and healing slowly?

Question

What does it mean if I am losing weight and healing slowly?

I recently lost about ten pounds behaving already been very thin to begin with. I 5'8" and only about 115 pounds, yet I have very little appetite and have to force myself to eat. I have also noticed that small abrasions or scrapes on my skin are taking a very long time to heal, and I can only manage to sleep about four hours per night despite taking an ambien.

Answer

Unexplained weight loss is a serious matter and should be evaluated by a physician promptly. The reason that doctors get concerned about unexplained weight loss due to decreased appetite is that it can be a sign of serious diseases, including digestive disorders, psychiatric problems (like depression or eating disorders) and many forms of cancer. If you are losing weight unintentionally, have no appetite, and are getting very skinny, you need to see a primary care doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are over 50 (since this makes cancer more likely). Another reason you should go see a doctor is that lack of appetite, weight loss, and changes in sleep can be signs of depression, especially when coupled with other symptoms such as low mood and loss of pleasure and interest in previously enjoyable activities. The reason that your wounds are healing slowly could be related to malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies. Wound healing relies on several of the body's resources, including oxygen, glucose, protein, and vitamins (such as vitamin C). Delayed wound healing is a very common symptom associated with protein calorie malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. You should go see a physician as soon as possible to determine whether malnutrition or a vitamin deficiency is the cause of your delayed wound healing. In this situation, there is no substitute for a complete evaluation and diagnostic testing by a physician to determine the cause and the physiological consequences of your unintentional weight loss.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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