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Pediatrics/rapid weight loss


At what point does rapid weight loss become a concern? My son is 10 years old and has had sort of a rough year. In September he experienced ataxia and it was discovered in that hospitalization that at some point he had a stroke and he also had different blood clotting issues. On top of this he was positive for microplasma pneumoniae and Lyme. The Lyme was thought to be a false positive but his doctors never agreed on that one. By then end of October, and after several hospitalizations, he was 68 lbs. He had previously weighed 75 lbs so it was a decent weight loss and not so surprising being as though he didn't eat as well as he used to.

As we began to get more answers and he steadily improved his appetite was back and minus a few episodes he was his old self again. Within a month or two he had gained his weight back to 78 lbs and was doing well. At his 10 yr well exam in February he weighed 84 lbs and at two recent follow ups he weighed 88 lbs, so he had gained his weight back and then some.

His appetite has remain unchanged and he has always been an extremely good eater. But for some reason today I asked him to see what he weighed and he weighed 76 lbs. I am sure its still considered a healthy weight for his height (he is 56"). I am not exactly concerned about his actual weight itself but more so the rapid weight loss in a span of a month or so.

At what point would a dramatic weight loss be a concern? What is considered a dramatic weight loss? He is generally healthy aside from the other issues he had and was treated for and eats very well. The only continuous complaint I can recall from him is back pain but nothing other than that. Is there a point that I should be concerned? or should I just continue to watch and wait being as though he is eating and drinking as he should? (and then some) I will be at the doctors office this week for another appointment for my other son and I just wonder if its worth bringing up being as though I know because of what he has been through I am a tad bit more cautious.

Hi, Violet,

This is a weight loss of over 10% of his body weight and if this is over a month, I would be concerned.  Please ask your doctor to explain to you why he is losing weight and if the current weight indeed is valid, what can be done to help stop the weight loss.  

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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