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Medical Conditions that make Weight Loss Difficult

Written By northidahodpc

Medical Conditions that make Weight Loss Difficult

November 8, 2011

What common medical conditions are associated with obesity?  This is an important question, because if a condition is not recognized and treated, your best efforts at losing weight may be futile.  As briefly mentioned in yesterday’s blog, six common conditions include:

  1. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid):  The thyroid is a walnut sized gland in the front part of the neck that helps produce energy by burning calories.  If the gland is sluggish and not producing enough hormone, calories are not burned and weight gain results.
  2. Depression:  Stress eating and decreased activity are common findings in depression and frequently lead to weight gain.  Certain stimulating antidepressants such as Prozac and Wellbutrin are frequently used to help the depressed patient lose weight.  Read our article, Common Symptoms of Depression, for further information on this condition.
  3. Diabetes:  Most diabetics are Type 2 and are overweight.  Diabetes is a disease where energy units (glucose) produced by food breakdown in the digestive tract have a difficult time getting into the cells.  Somehow, being obese, especially in the form of belly fat, makes glucose transport difficult and increases the risk of diabetes.  Frequently the diabetic needs medication to help lower blood glucose and lose weight.
  4. Sleep Apnea:  More common in overweight people, this condition is intermittent, short lived blockage of the airway while asleep.  This leads to poor quality rest which causes chronic fatigue.  Motivation to exercise and lose weight becomes more difficult as a result.
  5. Adrenal gland problems:  Cushing’s Disease is a classic example, where the glands (located on top of the kidneys) produce too much of the hormone cortisol.  People with this condition develop a chubby midsection with thin arms and legs.
  6. Hormone imbalances:  Refers to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women and low testosterone levels in men.  PCOS patients frequently are overweight and have diabetes, and men with “low T” have less muscle mass, less energy and frequently tend to be heavy.

A thorough medical history and examination is recommended prior to starting any weight loss program.  By evaluating for and treating these and other conditions, the odds of successful weight loss is much greater.

If you are a member of North Idaho Direct Primary Care and are working through weight loss goals without success, contact our office and set up an appointment with Dr. Samuel to rule out possible conditions that might impede weight loss.  If you are not a member and would like to find out about our practice, you can click here to read more.  If you found this article helpful, click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter.

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