NOT ALL WEIGHT GAIN IS DUE
TO A POOR DIET
it seems like a cop-out, thyroid disease could be to
blame for weight gain.
Many people look beyond their eating and exercise
tendencies to explain weight gain. For some, any
scapegoat will do, be it stress, a recent pregnancy
or a prescription medication. No one wants to admit
that lack of exercise or consumption of fatty foods
is the main culprit.
However, when traditional weight-loss methods fail
to work, a thyroid condition could be to blame. But
is blaming your growing waistline on a medical
condition really that spot on? It just may be.
Thyroid conditions are far more prevalent than
previously suspected. According to The Thyroid
Foundation of America, 4.1 million men and 8 million
women have either hyper- or hypothyroidism.
To comprehend the severity of a thyroid condition
and the symptoms that may ensue, it is important to
first understand the overall function of the
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in
the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple.
Each “wing” or lobe of the thyroid lies on either
side of your trachea, otherwise known as the
windpipe. The purpose of the thyroid is to make,
store and release thyroid hormones to help oxygen
get into cells throughout the body. As a result, the
thyroid is known as the master of metabolism. It
works in conjunction with the pituitary gland and
the hypothalamus in the brain.
The main hormones produced by the thyroid are
triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Once
released by the thyroid, the T3 and T4 travel
through the bloodstream to help cells convert oxygen
and calories into energy.
When the thyroid produces too little hormone, you
may suffer from a condition called hypothyroidism.
This causes your body to slow down and weight gain.
Depression, fatigue and a slow heartbeat may also
When the thyroid produces too much hormone, you may
have a condition called hyperthyroidism. This
results in your body speeding up and you may
experience nervousness, accelerated heartbeat,
palpitations and unexplained weight loss.
Because the function of the thyroid reaches all
cells of the body when it isn’t operating properly,
a number of conditions can arise.
If you can answer “Yes” to any of these questions,
you may want to speak with your doctor about thyroid
• Do you have a family member with a thyroid
• Have you been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, or are you frequently tired even after
having slept several hours?
• Do you frequently feel cold in your hands and
• Do you have swelling in the neck area?
• Are you overweight?
• Do you gain weight too easily?
• Does stress cause you to feel irritable too
• Are you depressed, easily prone to depression, or
• Are you losing hair, particularly around the
outside portion of your eyebrows?
The most common form of treatment for thyroid
conditions is thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
It is an effective treatment that simply replaces
what your body cannot produce.
However, hormone therapy can tip the scales in the
opposite direction with regard to hormone
production. Therefore, a person who had
hypothyroidism might have hyperthyroidism if too
much medication is taken. That’s why routine
monitoring and follow up by your doctor are
Discuss anything about your health that you find
unusual. It may help your doctor determine if
hormone therapy is needed and possibly help you
avoid the serious or nuisance symptoms of thyroid