Consumer Health Tips and Products

Monday, May 02, 2005

Being Underweight Poses Health Risks

Here are highlights from the May issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource attribution is required. Also, you may reprint up to four articles annually without cost. More frequent reprinting is allowed for a fee. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Call toll free for subscription information, 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.

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ROCHESTER, Minn. -- There's no question that being overweight is bad for your health. But being underweight poses health problems, too, especially as you get older, according to the May issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

Health problems can include fighting off infection, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, trouble regulating body temperature and even increased risk of death.

If you're thin and your weight has fallen below your usual adult weight, it could indicate a problem. Unintentional weight loss could be caused by:

Diseases: Many health problems impair how your body absorbs food and uses calories. Among the most common are cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.

Medications: Drugs, including some antidepressants, blood pressure and osteoporosis medications, can cause decreased appetite. Aspirin and other nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs can cause gastrointestinal side effects.

Psychological and social factors: Depression and anxiety can cause weight loss. Lack of transportation, limited finances or physical impairments can make it difficult to buy food and prepare it.

Be aware of what weight is healthy for you, be alert to changes and ask for help when needed. If you've noticed a change in your appetite, have pain with eating or are unintentionally shedding pounds, see your doctor.

Erik Kaldor - Jacksonville - 904-953-2299

Lynn Closway - Scottsdale - 480-301-4337

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic. To subscribe, please call 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.