Are you worried about sudden and unrelenting weight gain? It could be an indication of an underlying condition affecting your thyroid to do with your thyroid, which plays a crucial role in how your body functions. Your thyroid secretes hormones responsible for helping regulate your metabolism regulator and use energy efficiently. If your thyroid gland is not working properly you may notice fluctuations in your weight that are resistant to changes in your diet and activity level.
Your Thyroid and Weight
If your thyroid is not working properly one of two problems may occur. When your thyroid gland does not work as it should, it can significantly lower a person’s basal metabolic rate or BMR. Those with overactive thyroid glands will notice a rise in their BMR.
The differences in a person’s BMR reflect how many calories are burned as energy. In cases of overactive thyroids known as hyperthyroidism, an excessive number of hormones are produced leading to a higher BMR and many patients experience weight loss as their body burns energy at a higher rate. For patients whose thyroids do not work as they should experience a condition known as hypothyroidism, their lower BMR may cause weight gain as their body has a harder time burning energy efficiently.
However, it is important to note that there are a variety of factors aside from the functionality of your thyroid gland that can contribute to fluctuations in weight including stress, age, diet, exercise levels, and overall health.
Hypothyroidism, as previously mentioned, means you have an underactive thyroid not producing enough metabolism hormones causing your BMR to lower. In addition to weight gain, you may also experience changes in skin quality and tone, you may also experience a drop in energy levels, joint pain, muscle soreness, and fatigue. These symptoms can be vague and slow to develop making diagnosis difficult at times.
If you suspect a thyroid issue, check with your doctor for an exam and a correct diagnosis. If your thyroid is the cause, then your doctor will likely prescribe thyroid hormone medication to help jumpstart your thyroid gland.
Once the correct dosage is achieved, many patients notice an immediate change in their bodies. Much of the weight gained from hypothyroidism is salt and water, the weight loss from medication alone will be small. However, now that your thyroid is functioning properly, with proper diet and exercise weight loss can be achieved as your body can burn energy more effectively.
Thyroid Management Tips
By monitoring your thyroid regularly and managing any imbalances, you can prevent thyroid-related weight gain. Here are a few tips we recommend:
- Regularly check your check– Check your thyroid for any suspicious small lumps or enlargements around the lower front area of your neck.
- Submit thyroid blood work– Once you suspect a thyroid issue, do not wait to get to your doctor. You can then request them for a TSH(Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) blood test. The same blood test can check for thyroid antibodies to rule out Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
- Check your cholesterol levels–Most often, it can be challenging for high cholesterol patients to respond to diet and exercise. When this happens, it could be due to underactive thyroid, which should send you scampering to the doctor.
- Follow the doctor’s advice religiously–Once the doctor makes a positive thyroid diagnosis, they also provide a prescription to which you must adhere. For example, most of the instructions require that you take the exact drug dosage every day and simultaneously. A deviation can cause problems, meaning that you can’t evade thyroid-related issues such as weight gain immediately.
It can be challenging to keep off the pounds if you have hypothyroidism. However, at the Functional Health Center of the Carolinas, we are here to help you get your health back on track. For more information on hypothyroidism and weight gain or to schedule a consultation, contact Functional Health Center at (704) 625-2994.