Your Body Weight History

Often people think of their medical history as a list of operations, illnesses, or allergies. And all of these are important. But it is also important to know your body weight history, and knowing what to take to your primary care MD.

Components of this history would include: What is your weight? What did you weigh a few days ago, a few months ago, how about a few years ago? Tracking weight changes can tell you a lot about your overall health. Weight loss while you are ill can tell you about the severity of your illness. Rapid weight gain could be an indicator of fluid retention, with ankle swelling or even fluid accumulation in your abdomen. Common causes of weight gain that are due to an illness could be heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, endocrine disease, or secondary to a medication. Weight loss could be due to dehydration. Loss that you do not intend over the past 6-12 months is evaluated by the amount loss. If you have lost over 5% in the past 6 months, or over 10% in the past year, without specifically trying, you may be suffering from an illness. To calculate the % of weight loss over a time period you can take your [(usual weight-current weight)/usual weight] x 100.

Questions to ask yourself if you have weight changed:
1. What time period has this weight change occurred?
2. How is your appetite?
3. What other symptoms have you noticed?
4. Have you been urinating less, or actually more?
5. How much weight have you changed?
6. What do you think the cause of your weight gain may have been?
7. Have you had any change of bowel habits or noticed particles of food in your stools?
8. Have you tried to change the amount of weight fluctuation and have you been successful?
9. Have you noticed bruising, cuts are bleeding excessively, or any infections that aren't healing?
10. Have you been consuming grapefruit or other citrus fruits that might be interfering with your medications?

All these factors are very important. And the effects of diet, supplements and medications  may be more subtle than you suspect. In fact one 8-oz glass of grapefruit juice could increase the blood drug level and the effects can last for up to 3 days. So trying to track the source of weight change can be difficult and require closely working with your primary care physician.

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