You may start packing on the pounds if your thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, stops making enough hormones. It also could thin your hair, dry your skin, and make you feel colder, tired, constipated, and even depressed. A simple blood test can confirm if your hormone levels are low, and artificial hormones can help you feel better.
Weight gain and
even obesity are among the possible physical side effects. People with
this mood disorder often have higher levels of the “stress hormone”
cortisol, which may cause fat to gather around your belly. Or you may
pack on the pounds because you feel too down to eat right or exercise.
Certain medications used to treat the condition also could do it. Talk
to your doctor or a therapist if you feel depressed.
People who get less
than 6 hours of shut-eye a night tend to have more body fat. About 8
hours is the sweet spot for keeping the weight off. Lack of sleep can
cause your body to make too much of the hormones cortisol and insulin,
which can add pounds. It also can mess up the hormones that signal
hunger and make you crave food, especially those loaded with fat and
during menopause can put more fat around your belly. But less hormones
isn’t the only cause. Hot flashes, sleep problems, and moodiness linked
to the end of a woman’s fertility may get in the way of healthy eating
and exercise. If you’re already sleep deprived and depressed, you might
reach for a candy bar instead of making a nutritious meal. Your doctor
can suggest ways to help with your symptoms.
helps keep your blood pressure and blood sugar in a healthy range. But
when your adrenal glands make too much of this stress hormone, it can
add fat to your belly and the base of your neck. You might bruise more
and notice weaker, thinner limbs, a round face, and big purple stretch
marks. Your doctor will try to figure out the cause, and then treat it
with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or drugs to lower cortisol.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
There’s no one test
that can tell a woman she has this disease. You may skip periods,
sprout more hair on your face or body, or get acne. Also, cysts may grow
on your ovaries. Too much male androgen hormone causes it. You also
could gain weight because you’re less sensitive to insulin, a hormone
that helps your body turn blood sugar into energy. Your doctor can help
balance or replace the hormones.
Congestive Heart Failure
It’s when your
heart doesn’t pump hard enough. Sudden weight gain — 2-3 pounds in a
day or more than 5 pounds a week — could mean it’s getting worse. You
also might have swollen feet and ankles, a faster pulse, heavy
breathing, high blood pressure, memory loss, and confusion. You might
want to track these symptoms so you can tell your doctor about abrupt
changes. Together, you can adjust your treatment for better health.
If you’re a noisy
snorer or feel drowsy during the day, it could be a sign you may have
this serious condition. Your airway regularly cuts off breathing for a
few seconds in your sleep. Being overweight or obese is one cause of
sleep apnea, but it can also be a symptom. The condition could make you
more likely to have liver problems, heart failure, and high blood
pressure. Your doctor might suggest a CPAP breathing machine or other
Feeling a bit
puffy? This condition happens when your body is holding too much water,
usually in your arms and legs. A limb might look swollen and feel tight
and hard to move. Edema itself is not usually a big deal. Diuretics,
also called water pills, can help get rid of it if it doesn’t get better
on its own. But you and your doctor should work to manage the
underlying cause, like heart, kidney, liver, and lung diseases, which
can be quite serious.
It’s a group of
conditions that happens together and raises your chances of heart
disease, stroke, and diabetes. Your blood pressure, blood sugar,
cholesterol, and body fat may be at unhealthy levels. There might be no
obvious symptoms except for extra pounds that add up around your waist.
Your doctor can help you manage it with changes in diet and exercise as
well as medicine and, in rare cases, weight loss surgery.
Depending on the
type, you can treat diabetes with a mix of diet, exercise, insulin, and
medication. Insulin helps your body use energy. But it also makes it
easier for your body to store the energy, which often can lead to weight
gain. Plus, you may be tempted to eat more to prevent low blood sugar
from some of the treatments. Talk to your doctor about how to best
balance diet, exercise, insulin, and medication to manage your weight
and your diabetes.
Your doctor might
call them corticosteroids. You can use them to treat asthma, some types
of arthritis, and other conditions. The higher the dose and the longer
you take steroids, the more likely they are to make you extra hungry!
That could lead to overeating and weight gain. Talk to your doctor about
how best to manage the side effects of your steroid treatment.
One drug might make
you hungry. Another might slow your body’s calorie burn or change the
way your body absorbs nutrients. Some just make your body hang on to
more water. Sometimes, scientists don’t know for sure why a drug causes
weight gain. Common examples are birth control pills, antipsychotics,
antidepressants, epilepsy drugs, and beta-blockers (for high blood