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5 Medical Conditions That Fuel Weight Gain

5 Medical Conditions That Fuel Weight Gain

Did you know that over three-quarters of US adults are overweight or obese? That means more Americans weigh more — or significantly more — than they should. While diet and exercise play a role, some underlying medical conditions can fuel weight gain.

At Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, our providers evaluate your overall health, any current symptoms, and your lifestyle to get to the bottom of your weight troubles. Our compassionate team offers personalized care and recommendations to help you look and feel your best. 

If you’re struggling with your weight, keep reading to learn about five common conditions that may contribute to those excess pounds.

1. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Women develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) when they have hormonal imbalances. The primary imbalance is having too many androgens, or male hormones, in their system. However, women with PCOS also have too much of another hormone: insulin.

Insulin plays an important role in metabolism by working to convert the foods you eat into energy. Because PCOS affects your body’s ability to metabolize foods, it can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain. 

PCOS is also linked to other serious health issues related to weight, including:

Plus, over half of the women diagnosed with PCOS also develop type 2 diabetes. Schedule an appointment with a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice to discover if PCOS is contributing to your weight gain. 

2. Hypothyroidism

You have a small gland called the thyroid in your neck. This tiny gland is part of your endocrine system, which is made up of different glands located throughout your body that together make the hormones that control most body functions. 

Among other things, your thyroid helps control and regulate your metabolism, or the breaking down of food and its conversion into energy. When your thyroid produces too little or too much of the different hormones it makes, your body can’t function properly.

If your thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones, you can develop hypothyroidism. This causes your body functions, including your metabolism, to slow down. With a slow metabolism, it’s easy to gain weight or have trouble losing it. 

3. Major depressive disorder

Your mind and body work together, not separately. This means that when something causes problems with one, it often affects the other. As such, major depressive disorder may be a condition of your mental health, but it can also affect your physical health.

Scientists believe an imbalance in brain chemicals contributes to depression. This includes the region of the brain related to stress, which can cause your body to release too much of the stress hormone cortisol.

Excess cortisol levels have been linked to weight gain — especially around the abdomen. What’s more? Because excess cortisol negatively affects your immune system, it also increases your risk of getting sick or making current health conditions worse.

4. Sleep disorders

When you don’t get sufficient sleep, your body goes into a state of stress. This leads it to produce too much of the hormones insulin and cortisol. 

As a result, people with sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea, have a tendency to gain weight. These hormonal imbalances can also affect your hunger signals, making you crave sugary or fatty foods in response to increased stress levels. 

If you’re worried about a sleep disorder, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with a Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider. Getting help for your sleep disorder can help you better manage your weight while protecting your health.

5. Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body’s cells don’t react to insulin the way they’re supposed to. As a result, your cells can take in glucose (blood sugar). Because your blood sugar levels stay elevated, your body tries to make more insulin, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Weighing more than you should and not exercising enough are the main causes of insulin resistance. But the condition can also make it difficult to lose weight and easier to gain weight. It’s important to talk to your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider if you suspect you might have insulin resistance.

If you’re diagnosed with insulin resistance, your provider may recommend making certain dietary changes, such as eating foods with a lower glycemic index, to help keep your insulin levels low and stable. This can help you lose weight and reclaim your health.

Don’t wait to schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice if you’re struggling with your weight. We can help you get to the bottom of your weight gain and take steps toward regaining control of your weight and your health. 

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