Why Do You Lose Weight with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling that can cause limited range of motion or even disability in severe case are some of the major concerns in coping with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It also can affect and spread throughout the body, causing symptoms that are not related to the joint such as weight loss – why and how?

Common causes of unintended weight loss

image_illustration301Many times it occurs due to a consequence of a stressful event. But sometimes, it may pinpoint the existence of a medical condition, too – such as RA.

It’s normal to notice losing a few pounds of weight after having stress of divorce, bereavement, losing jobs, or changing jobs. But don’t worry because this is usually temporary and your normal weight should return when you begin to get used to the change and start to feel happier.

A significant losing weight is different case. It should not be ignored because can lead to malnutrition or other serious complications. Typically, it is caused by an eating disorder like anorexia. If you do believe that you have an eating disorder, it’s recommended to seek medical attention promptly!

RA is not the only one. Weight loss is a vague symptom and it can be associated with numerous different medical conditions. Other common causes are the existence of cancerous tumor, over-active thyroid, or other mood disorders (like depression).

Two major causes of weight loss in rheumatoid arthritis

There are some possible factors that can attribute to weight loss in people with RA. But generally there may be two main causes, the elevated metabolic rate at rest and decreased appetite.

Increased resting metabolic rate

What is resting metabolic rate? It is a term used to describe the amount of energy required by the body to maintain its basic functions such as for respiration or heart rate.

Even though you are at rest, this doesn’t mean your body stops working. You need plenty of energy to maintain the basic functions of the body. Even most of your daily calories (about 50-70 percent) are burned and used in your resting metabolism.

The exact cause of RA itself is still debatable, though we know well that it is an autoimmune disorder or a consequence of the abnormality immune system. But experts believe that the production of proteins called cytokine can be aggressive (greater than normal) in people with RA.

It is thought that the overproduction of cytokine play a role in triggering the abnormal and excess inflammation throughout the body. This also causes other consequences such as increased resting metabolic rate.

Loss of appetite

RA can affect various tissues of the body. As a result, it may cause fatigue and loss of appetite, too.

The combination of appetite loss and more calories burned for resting metabolic rate can be a significant enough to make you lose more pounds of your weight.

Chronic condition and the risk of stress

RA is chronic condition, which means it can come and go. There is still no cure, but some new treatments are available to make it under control or even go into remission.

Each time the disease flares, the joint can be painful and push you to take a couple days of bed rest. This eventually may affect your daily routines or even your carrier. You may also worry about the prognosis of your RA in long term.

All of these discomforts and worries can make you stress and cause depression, which then may affect your weight’s scale, too. See more the connection between stress and RA in here!