The thyroid is a gland located in the neck. The gland regulates your metabolism and produces hormones which means it dictates your body’s energy levels. If you have an excess of energy from the calories in the food you consume, this additional energy is stored as fat in your body. When there is too much fat storage in your body this can. cause obesity which is a chronic disease that can unfortunately lead to other health problems.
If your thyroid is not performing well and is producing lower amounts of hormones than it should, you should visit your doctor to see if you have hypothyroidism. This condition is often characterized by your body using less of the energy that you consume in food and it is being stored as fat that may be difficult to get rid of.
Can Hypothyroidism Lead to Obesity?
Obesity is not inevitable if you have hypothyroidism; however, close to 50% of people who have hypothyroidism that is not treated will experience significant weight gain of between 5 and 10 pounds. If you have a normal body mass index (between 18.5 kg/m2 and 24.9 kg/m2) gaining 50 to 10 pounds will not lead to obesity. If your body mass index is already in the overweight range, which is between 25 kg/m2 and 2.9. kg/m2, you can be classified as obese. It is also important to keep in mind that the shorter you are, the same amount of weight as a taller person can increase your body mass index more.
Does Obesity Lead to Hypothyroidism?
Medical professionals don’t think obesity and hypothyroidism are directly linked. There are a number of reasons why people develop an underachieve thyroid and most of the risk factors are connected to genetics and underlying health issues. Even though obesity is not a risk factor when it comes to an underachieve thyroid, the connection between these two conditions may be complicated.
According to medical studies, there is a possible connection between heightened body mass index and decreased thyroid function. The thyroid also stops functioning property when a person gains more weight. The hormone receptors that respond to the thyroid hormone may not function as efficiently in obese individuals. This condition is similar to when people become insulin resistant.
Doctors are working to get a full understanding of this relation and are conducting ongoing research.
Treatments for Hypothyroid-Related Obesity
In most cases, your doctor will prescribe a medication that will balance your thyroid levels. This will often lead to weight loss. However, if your thyroid function is normal but you’re still retaining weight while on the medication, there are other strategies your healthcare provider may implement.
If you have an under-active thyroid you will likely be prescribed a supplement to improve the function of your thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. Your doctor will monitor your thyroid levels after you start the medication to adjust the dosage if needed. This could be effective in helping you lose weight.
You may also need to change what you’re eating and drinking and include an exercise program in your daily regimen to help you lose weight whether you have a normally functioning thyroid or are suffering from hypothyroidism.
Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is often a viable option for people with a body mass index of >40 kg/m2 or for those who have a chronic medical condition that is obesity-related.
Bariatric surgery is a reasonable treatment option for obesity, especially if your BMI is >40 kg/m2 or you have another serious medical condition related to obesity. The decision to have bariatric surgery is a complicated one, and should be carefully discussed with your healthcare provider.
When Will You See Results?
The time it takes to see results from your treatment will depend on how severe your hypothyroidism is and how well quickly your thyroid returns to its normal function. If you had overt hypothyroidism, you may see weight loss right away since your body will have gotten rid of excess water and salt.
When you’re ready to receive the help you need for restoring your health and managing your weight, our professional staff is here to help. Contact us today at 205-352-9141 for more information.