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Fatigue, Loss of Appetite & Weight Loss

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Certain symptoms can indicate the presence of illness or disease. Often, these same symptoms may simply indicate a need to focus on consuming a healthy diet. Vague symptoms, such as fatigue and loss of appetite, may result from a variety of causes. Occasionally, continued loss of appetite can lead to a loss of weight. Determining the cause of these symptoms can help you and your doctor determine the best type of treatment.


Fatigue may begin gradually or suddenly. A lack of motivation to do anything may signal the presence of fatigue. This symptom can range from a slight lack of energy to feelings of extreme weariness. You may notice a lack of appetite when you begin to experience a lack of interest in food or find you have difficulty finishing a meal. This disinterest may cause you to consume fewer calories, leading to a loss of weight.


Normal situations in life can cause periodic feelings of fatigue and loss of appetite. Overwork, poor nutrition and alcohol use can contribute to these symptoms. Psychological problems, such as extreme stress, depression, grief and anxiety can also lead to feelings of tiredness and disinterest in food and activities. Certain medical conditions may also cause fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss. These include heart disease, acute liver failure, anemia, cancer, emphysema and chronic kidney failure.

Medical Care

Prolonged periods of fatigue and loss of appetite, accompanied by weight loss, may require a visit to your doctor. The recommends seeing your doctor if weight loss accompanies feelings of fatigue. A physical examination and certain tests can help determine the cause of your symptoms.


Consider lifestyle elements that may lead to fatigue and loss of appetite. Eliminate poor habits, including alcohol abuse, smoking and lack of sleep. Eat a well-balanced diet that includes nutritious foods, such as whole grain breads and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and lean sources of meat. Include a wide variety of foods to ensure adequate amounts of nutrients.


Treating the underlying cause of your condition may help reduce your feelings of fatigue and increase your appetite, helping you to gain back your lost weight. If your doctor suspects that your symptoms are a side effect of medications you are taking, he may change your prescription. Your doctor may also prescribe counseling or medications to help treat emotional difficulties, such as depression.

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