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3 Underlying Conditions That May Be Affecting Your Weight

Checking Weight

Eat less and exercise more, and you should lose weight. You've probably heard that advice hundreds of times - but what if you have tried your best to follow it and have not experienced results? Many adults struggle to lose weight, and oftentimes, those struggles occur because of an underlying health condition. The following are three underlying health conditions that may be thwarting your weight-loss efforts.

1. Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland, located in your neck, releases hormones that regulate your metabolism. If this gland stops functioning as it should and your levels of thyroid hormone fall too low, you may develop an array of symptoms, two of which are increased appetite and weight gain.

Hypothyroidism is very common, especially in women, and an estimated 15 million sufferers of the disease do not even know they have it. Beyond weight issues, the following are some other signs you may be suffering from hypothyroidism:

  • Chronic tiredness and exhaustion

  • Feelings of depression and moodiness

  • Brain fog or trouble concentrating

  • Loss of libido

  • Heart palpitations

  • Dry skin

The good news is that if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your doctor can help you lose weight. Hormone therapy to restore healthy levels of thyroid hormone will help considerably. Your doctor may also recommend adopting a gluten-free diet, eating fewer simple carbohydrates, and eating small meals more often.

2. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing periodically during the night. Each time you stop breathing, your rest is interrupted. You may actually wake up or simply enjoy less restful sleep as a result.

Many people have sleep apnea and do not realize it. Sleep apnea is especially common in people who are overweight. If you wake up feeling tired or your partner complains about your snoring, discuss this possible diagnosis with your doctor.

How does sleep apnea affect your weight? When you do not get enough sleep or enough restful sleep, your body produces more of a hormone called ghrelin, which triggers your appetite and causes you to eat more. At the same time, your body produces less leptin - the hormone that tells you that you're full. 

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can use dental devices and breathing machines to help you get a better night's sleep. As your sleep improves, you should find it easier to stick to a healthy diet and lose weight. 

3. Depression

Depression and weight gain are often intertwined. When you feel depressed, you eat more, causing you to gain weight. Then, you become unhappy with your weight, which drives you deeper into depression.

Many people are depressed and do not realize it. In fact, 80 percent of sufferers do not receive treatment. If you have any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility that depression is hindering your weight loss:

  • Chronic tiredness

  • Feeling annoyed at anyone and everything around you

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Lack of interest in self-care and grooming

  • Loss of interest in activities you used to love

Medications and therapy can help get your depression under control, which will make it easier for you to lose weight. Your doctor can also help you explore the relationship between your feelings and your behavior around food, which may help you make smarter food choices. Many people find that getting more exercise helps ease depression symptoms, and it also helps them lose weight.

If you have been struggling to lose weight on your own, do not give up. You may have an underlying health condition that requires treatment before you're able to successfully manage your weight. Contact WaistLines to make an appointment. Our physicians will help you lose weight in a healthy way, taking any underlying health problems into account as they formulate your weight-loss plan.