Unexplainable weight gain is associated with thyroid disease. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 27 million Americans have hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and 8 in 10 thyroid patients are women. One of the many common symptoms of hypothyroidism is the dreaded weight gain. So how do people with this disease manage their almost inevitable weight gain?
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The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones which play a significant role in your metabolism and energy regulation in the body. If there is too much or too little thyroid hormone, the metabolism of your entire body is impacted.
Hypothyroidism and Metabolism
Thyroid hormones control the cellular metabolism throughout the body and when there is not enough of them, this metabolic function slows and becomes impaired. The most common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune failure (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) and surgical removal or destruction of the gland. These latter treatments are usually done for thyroid cancer to treat hyperthyoidism or goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland).
Since thyroid hormones are important to all the cells of the body, symptoms can appear very general and may often be seen as vague in mild cases.
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
▪ Mood swings
▪ Weight gain
▪ Muscle cramping and aching
▪ Decreased perspiration
▪ Changes in blood pressure
▪ High cholesterol
▪ Swelling in legs
▪ Blurred vision
▪ Cold intolerance
▪ Hoarse voice
▪ Heavy menses
▪ Coarse, dry hair and skin
▪ Hair loss (on head and/or body)
How To Stay Healthy
Hypothyroidism is reportedly responsible for a 10-30lb weight gain for most patients. Although the weight gain may not seem a very high amount, most people complain about their slow metabolism. In order to counter their decreased metabolism, patients are recommended to undertake a regular routine of intense aerobic exercise such as running, swimming, or biking at least five times a week.
In addition to regular exercise, they need to have healthy eating habits and consume less calories than normal to be able to avoid weight gain. It’s important to note that because their metabolism slows down, loosing weight can be a challenge as well.
Therefore, if someone has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and is looking to loose weight, they need to adopt a healthy lifestyle and must exercise regularly in order to loose weight. Hypothyroidism does slow down your metabolism and decreases your ability to loose weight, however, a healthy life style and exercise can still keep you healthy and fit.