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4 Medical Reasons For Weight Gain and How to Stop it

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BY DR. KHOOBSURAT NAJMA

Have you been putting on weight despite watching your diet or following a regular exercise program? It may be due to an underlying medical condition or any medication that you have been taking. There are certain medical conditions and medicines that can lead to weight gain. These include:

THYROID DISEASE:

Deficiency of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can cause weight gain. Without enough thyroid hormone, the body’s metabolism slows down, leading to weight gain. Hypothyroidism is most common in women above 50 years.

Symptoms: 

weight gain, fatigue, muscle pains, fatigue, inability to concentrate, cold intolerance, irregular periods and constipation

Tests: blood tests called Thyroid function tests

POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition in which a woman’ hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) are out of balance. This leads to the growth of cysts in ovaries.  (non-tumor masses in ovaries). PCOS can cause problems with women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, heart function, and appearance.

Symptoms:

weight gain, irregular periods or no periods at all, trouble getting pregnant, excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks, thinning hair and hair loss from the head, oily skin or acne.

Tests:  blood tests include testing for levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, testosterone, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) , adrenal gland hormones( such as DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone), glucose tolerance test, blood insulin levels and lipid profile

DEPRESSION:

Some people with depression overeat, which can lead to obesity.  People can turn to food as a coping mechanism leading to a vicious circle. Weight gain from depression can make you more depressed, which can lead to further weight gain.

Symptoms:

weight gain, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, fatigue, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest in activities, body aches, headaches,  persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings, suicidal thoughts or behavior

Tests: there are no tests. It is diagnosed on the basis of your symptoms.

MEDICATIONS:

Long-term use of steroids (corticosteroid) tablets seems to increase appetite in some people, leading to weight gain. Weight gain is a common side effect for people who take insulin to manage their diabetes. Insulin tends to cause weight gain possibly by stimulating appetite during periods of low blood sugar levels. Valproate is a drug used to treat bipolar disorder and seizures, and prevent migraines. The drug affects proteins involved in appetite and metabolism, causing weight gain.

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