World Thyroid Day 2020: Can thyroid disease lead to weight gain?

Thyroid diseases are either present as hypothyroidism (production of thyroid hormone reduces) or hyperthyroidism (production of thyroid hormone increases).

Myupchar May 25, 2020 09:00:39 IST
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World Thyroid Day 2020: Can thyroid disease lead to weight gain?

Despite eating healthy and exercising daily, some people can start gaining a significant amount of weight all of a sudden. If this is something you're currently experiencing, one of the things you must get checked is your thyroid levels. Low thyroid levels can be the reason behind sudden weight gain, especially in women. There is a high prevalence of thyroid disease amongst people across the world and that is why, every year, 25th of May is observed as World Thyroid Day. According to doctors, one in every 10 women suffers from hypothyroidism.

World Thyroid Day 2020 Can thyroid disease lead to weight gain

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland present in the throat below the Adam’s apple. It produces two hormones, T3 (thyroxine) and T4 (triiodothyronine), and is maintained by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

The thyroid gland helps in the regulation of various body functions. So, any abnormalities in this organ may lead to dysfunctioning of those body systems. Thyroid diseases are either present as hypothyroidism, where the production of thyroid hormone reduces, or hyperthyroidism, where the production of thyroid hormone increases. It has been reported that people with hypothyroidism may present with sudden weight gain.

Relationship between thyroid and weight

Thyroid hormone is responsible for maintaining the metabolism of the body. The metabolism of the body is measured in the form of metabolic rate which is the rate at which your body spends energy or burns calories. Our bodies burn calories even while resting, as energy is required to keep the body functioning at rest - this is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Studies have shown that whenever the level of thyroid hormones is low in the body, low BMRs were recorded and high thyroid hormone levels showed high BMRs. Whenever our body is working at a higher BMR, it depletes the body's stored calories faster than we consume it, which makes people leaner.

Hypothyroidism leads to weight gain

In the case of hypothyroidism, the body lacks the normal amount of thyroid hormone which is required by the body for various functions. It also causes the BMR to decrease, which leads to slower depletion of calories, making the person gain weight. It has been reported that the extra weight gain in hypothyroidism patients is due to the excess accumulation of salt and water in the body. A person with hypothyroidism may also present with other symptoms such as feeling excessively cold, joint pains and lethargy. The weight gain can be sudden but is usually not excessive.

Treating hypothyroidism can help lose weight

It has been seen that once a person diagnosed with hypothyroidism starts taking their thyroid medication and following the advised diet and exercise, they can get back to their previous body weight in no time. Even after taking the medications, if the weight keeps on increasing, then the reason for the weight gain may not be thyroid disease solely.

For more information, read our article on Thyroid problems.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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