‘Harmless’ Appetite Changes May Be an Early Sign of This 1 Horrifying Disease

Have you noticed you’ve been much hungrier than usual lately? Maybe you’re used to eating a few too many cupcakes, but you just haven’t felt like eating any lately. Subtle changes in appetite aren’t always a bad thing. But sometimes, they’re an early warning sign of a potentially life-threatening disease.

Find out what your sudden desire for a few extra cupcakes — or lack thereof — could mean (don’t miss the disease on Page 5).

Dementia

Two trees in the shape of a human head and brain as a symbol of the stress

Losing your appetite can be an early sign of dementia. | iStock.com/wildpixel

People living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia often lose their appetite and find it difficult to consume and enjoy food. This can lead to weight loss and associated health problems.

Do you worry about developing dementia, or fear that someone you know might have it? Knowing the symptoms can get you the care you need sooner rather than later. Early signs include confusion, feelings of depression, changes in personality, and a tendency to be repetitive.

Cancer

The diagnosis Colon Cancer written on a clipboard

A loss in appetite can be a sign of colon cancer in it’s early stages. | iStock.com/Zerbor

Cancer cells can develop and spread almost anywhere throughout your body without any symptoms. While side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy often cause changes in appetite, in many cases, the cancer itself can strip you of your appetite without warning.

Ovarian, pancreatic, stomach, and colon cancers are most often associated with a loss of appetite even in its earliest stages.

Depression

Depressed woman sitting on balcony

Food just doesn’t taste the same when you are depressed. | Rawpixel Ltd/iStock/Getty Images

Mental health conditions like depression can disrupt a person’s everyday life, making it difficult to concentrate, engage in social activities, and take care of themselves.

Some people with depression lose interest in activities like eating, and experience a loss of appetite as a result. Others experience an increased appetite and eat more than usual, often times as an emotional coping mechanism.

Diabetes

young man using lancelet on finger

Diabetes may actually cause you to eat more. | iStock.com/IPGGutenbergUKLtd

A person develops type 2 diabetes once their body stops responding to the insulin their pancreas produces. Dietary and other lifestyle changes are often required to manage this chronic condition.

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause a condition called polyphagia, the term doctors use to refer to abnormally increased appetite. Paired with excessive thirst and urination, it’s one of the early signs your body isn’t responding properly to insulin.

Fatty liver disease

illustration showing male liver anatomy

Fatty liver disease isn’t easy to detect. | iStock.com/sankalpmaya

Sometimes, excessive fat accumulates in the liver, which can cause devastating health complications. The inflammation that can result from this condition isn’t always easy to detect, especially early on. You might experience symptoms in later stages, though.

In addition to poor appetite, a fatty liver can lead to weight loss, fatigue and weakness, and mild to severe abdominal pain.

Hypothyroidism

Human Thyroid Gland Illustration

Eating can feel like a chore when you suffer from hypothyroidism. | iStock.com/Nerthuz

When the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, it can feel like the body starts to shut down. It can no longer regulate its own temperature or metabolism properly. Eating even becomes a chore.

Logically, it might seem like weight gain and an increase in appetite would go hand in hand. Someone living with hypothyroidism actually experiences a decreased appetite, because their bodies require fewer calories as they burn less energy.

Graves’ disease

woman adjusting weight scale

Graves’ disease can cause you to eat more and still lose weight. | iStock.com/tetmc

A disorder of the immune system, Graves’ disease stimulates the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. This results in hyperthyroidism, which makes it difficult for its sufferers to maintain a healthy weight and perform normal tasks due to fatigue.

People with this health condition might experience unexplained weight loss despite an increase in appetite. Even relatively normal eating habits can cause risky amounts of weight loss.

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