Hypothyroidism: Why Weight Loss Is Tough
“When your thyroid is not functioning well, your metabolism goes down and you start to gain weight,” says Anne Wolf, RD, MS, a registered dietitian and researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville. And once that weight has piled on, even 5 to 10 pounds can become very difficult to lose.
Additionally, Wolf notes that people with hypothyroidism tend to feel fatigued and just don’t have much energy, making exercise that much harder. With a lowered metabolism and a loss of the energy you need to exercise, the pounds can pile up quickly.
Thyroid And Your Weight
Your thyroid gland sends hormones into the bloodstream that help keep your metabolism in check. When you donât make enough of these hormones, that process slows down.
That puts the brakes on body functions. You might feel cold, tired, or sluggish. Your body may also hang on to salt and water. That causes bloating.
You might put on a few pounds — a few. Only about 10% of your total weight gain is likely due to the water and salt that your body keeps because of hypothyroidism.
If extra weight is the only symptom left after thyroid medication brings your hormone levels back to normal, hypothyroidism probably isn’t directly to blame for it.
“People with hypothyroidism often have gained quite a bit of weight before their diagnosis,” says nutrition coach Cheryl Harris, RD. “They may experience fatigue, and that makes it harder to have the energy to eat well and exercise regularly.”
Weight Loss With Treatment
There aren’t many scientific studies regarding how much weight is gained or lost once hypothyroid people are treated with the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine, but the limited evidence that is available indicates that not everyone loses weight with treatment and in the ones who do, it’s limited.
Once your hormone levels are within the normal range, you may lose a small amount of weight that mainly consists of the extra water and salt your body has built up. However, weight gain has multiple factors and yours is more than likely not all due to your thyroid’s slowdown. One way to tell is if treatment has helped all of your other thyroid symptoms but not your weight. This indicates that your thyroid very likely isn’t the only factor behind your gain.
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Hashimotos Often Goes Undiagnosed
Hashimotos prompts your body to create antibodies that attack and inflame the thyroid.
But doctors often dont check blood for the telltale antibodies because all hypothyroidism is treated the same way.
Many people are never told they have Hashimotos, says Dr. Kellis. But at the end of the day, if your thyroid is underactive, its usually Hashimotos thyroiditis, she says.
Other, less common, causes of hypothyroidism include:
- Surgical removal of the thyroid.
- Radiation to the neck.
- Use of certain psychiatric, heart, cancer or rheumatologic medications.
So knowing whether or not you have Hashimotos may be a moot point unless youre a woman trying to conceive.
Hashimotos carries a slightly higher risk of miscarriage, so youll need the blood test for thyroid antibodies, says Dr. Kellis.
You may need to take thyroid supplements, even if your TSH levels are normal.
You Probably Wont Need To Modify Your Diet
Avoiding refined sugar will be helpful, as eating sugar can often contribute to fatigue, says Dr. Kellis.
And if you have, or are suspected to have, celiac disease, youll want to avoid gluten.
But you wont need to steer clear of cruciferous vegetables or soy both nutrition powerhouses. They can be eaten in moderation.
Doctors recommend eating one or two Brazil nuts per day rather than taking supplements to get your selenium.
Iodine supplements are not advised. While women need iodine during pregnancy to prevent goiter, most U.S. foods are already fortified with it.
As long as youre being treated and followed by a doctor, and getting your blood levels checked, theres no reason to modify your diet, she says.
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Achieving Weight Loss Success With Hashimotos
Weight gain is a frustrating symptom of Hashimotos. And it doesnt help when its paired with fatigue and sluggishness, too. With Hashimotos, everything you do impacts everything else. The journey to lose weight with Hashimotos isnt just about losing weight. Its about improving all of your symptoms so your body can function optimally, thus responding with your desired results like improved energy, weight loss, and decreased fatigue and pain.;
I encourage you to embark on your own journey towards health and wellness with Hashimotos. It is possible, and its absolutely necessary if you want to lose weight in a sustainable way. The path to health with Hashimotos is a challenging one, but with support, guidance, and real-talk with real mentors on the same journey, youll reach your goals and live the life you want. You deserve it!;
If youre interested in learning more about exercising with Hashimotos, download my free How to Beat Fatigue and Exercise with Hashimotos guide.
In Good Health,
I Have A Lump On My Thyroid Now What
Thyroid cancer diagnoses have increased from 17,000 in 2002 to 57,000 in 2012. Even so, it’s still relatively uncommon and has a high survival rate 97 percent after five years, says Jose C. Dutra, M.D., director of the thyroid surgical clinic at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dutra and other experts believe that the spike in diagnoses is due to the wider use of MRI and CT scans, which can detect tiny lumps that can’t be touched. “Ninety percent of all enlargements are not cancerous,” he says.
Finally, about six months ago, one of her doctors heard about a new type of thyroid drug and sent Kruger to Mark Lupo, M.D., a thyroid specialist in Sarasota. He prescribed Tirosint, a liquid gel cap form of levothyroxine sodium, the thyroid hormone replacement pill commonly used to treat hypothyroidism.
Although drugs can work differently in each individual, Tirosint’s liquid form seemed to do the trick for Kruger: She dropped 20 pounds in six months. “And when I get up in the morning, I don’t feel like someone has beat me with a stick,” she says. More importantly, her heart problems have improved.
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Change Your Brain Chemistry
Hunger is intricately tied to your brain chemistry. When the hypothalamus senses you need energy, it issues the brain neurotransmitter neuropeptide Y with the message eat carbohydrates. The surge of NPY is what you experience as hunger. This system can be dramatically altered by several factors, all of which can be present in chronic thyroid disease:
* Your metabolism is too slow for the appetite level set by your brain. What your brain perceives as appropriate food intake levels can then exceed your bodys metabolism, creating weight gain.
* Your body is under stress, which interferes with the neurotransmitter functions, and is known to reduce the release of serotonin.
Natural alternatives to boosting serotonin include aerobic exercise and the herbal treatment called St. Johns Wort .
Does Thyroid Medicine Help Dogs Lose Weight
Though daily and lifelong, this medication is inexpensive and well tolerated by most dogs, with minimal side effects seen. Treatment should return your dogs metabolic rate back to normal levels. With treatment, you will likely see your dog lose weight, regain energy and develop a healthier coat.
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Treat Your Thyroid Issues
Experiencing unexplained changes in your weight, mood issues, and sensitivities to changing temperatures can be early warning signs that you have developed a thyroid problem. We can use medications and other methods to treat your thyroid issue and improve your health. If you would like to treat your thyroid problems, contact us at the Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY to schedule an initial consultation.
Thyroid Conditions And Digestive Problems
On the other hand, it could be something seemingly unrelated.
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. It is responsible for making and distributing thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism and help the body use energy. When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it can cause a wide range of problems including digestive issues. Many people with chronic gastrointestinal problems cannot find relief because they have an undiagnosed thyroid condition.
Hyperthyroidism, or too much thyroid hormone in the body, causes bodily functions to speed up. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are a racing heart, nervousness, hand tremors, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and an enlarged neck. Digestive symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include difficulty swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, lactose intolerance, liver problems, H. pylori bacterial infection and weight loss.
Hypothyroidism, or too little thyroid hormone in the body, can cause the bodys processes to slow down. This may cause symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, depression, constipation, forgetfulness and weight gain. Digestive symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include dyspepsia , low stomach acid, poor absorption, constipation, gallstones, anemia and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
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How Can I Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism And Menopause
Hypothyroidism can often worsen symptoms of menopause, and the hormone fluctuations experienced during menopause may contribute to or worsen hypothyroidism.
Consult with your doctor right away if you are going through menopause and think you may have thyroid issues or if you have hypothyroidism and are starting to go through menopause. Your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist who specializes in hormone disorders and can help you manage both conditions with a lower risk of complications.
Losing Weight With An Underactive Thyroid
Hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy body weight. But weight loss is still possible with hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland, which produces hormones that regulate a number of body processes, becomes underactive and doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to allow the body to function properly. One of the key processes these hormones help to regulate is metabolism that magic word we all know due to its connection to diet and weight-loss. It seems like everyone is trying to speed up their metabolism with the right mix of foods and exercise to help shed pounds. So when your body is working against you and slowing your metabolism down even more, weight loss becomes an even bigger challenge.
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Barriers To Weight Loss
It is frustrating to struggle to lose weight or continue to gain weight, even while taking your daily medication. There are five potential barriers that may be making weight loss difficult for you:
- Suboptimal Thyroid Treatment
Most people with hypothyroidism are treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication to restore TSH levels to what is known as reference range. ;A reference range is a set of values that includes an upper and lower limit of a lab test that are considered normal for a defined healthy population.
When you fall within the TSH reference range, you are euthyroid, which means your thyroid function is considered clinically normal.; however, this may not mean it is optimal for you.;Many people experience symptoms while in the normal range.
There are a few factors that can affect how well your treatment is working.
The timing of your medication is a key factor, since a number of foods, supplements and;drugs interfere with the absorption or action of levothyroxine;in the body.
Also, researchers have found that;TSH levels in the upper end of the reference range;are linked to increased weight and higher rates of obesity. ;In fact, even small increases in TSH within the normal range are associated with weight gain.
- A Decreased Metabolic Set Point
Why is it that that your friend eats more than you do, doesnt exercise nearly as much, but easily maintains a lower weight? ;It may be that you have a lower metabolism than she does.
- Other Thyroid Hormones
What Is The Relationship Between Hyperthyroidism And Weight
Since the BMR in patients with hyperthyroidism is elevated, many patients with an overactive thyroid do, indeed, have some weight loss. Furthermore, weight loss is related to the severity of the overactive thyroid. For example, if the thyroid is extremely overactive, the individuals BMR increases which leads to increased calories needed to maintain the body weight. If the person does not increase the amount of calories eaten to match the excess calories burned, then there will be weight loss. As indicated earlier, the factors that control our appetite, metabolism, and activity are very complex and thyroid hormone is only one factor in this complex system. Nevertheless, on average the more severe the hyperthyroidism, the greater the weight loss observed. Weight loss is also observed in other conditions where thyroid hormones are elevated, such as in the toxic phase of thyroiditis or if the dose of thyroid hormone pills is too high for a patient. Since hyperthyroidism also increases appetite, some patients may not lose weight, and some may actually gain weight, depending on how much they increase their caloric intake.
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Treating An Underactive Thyroid
Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.
You’ll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.
Once you’re taking the correct dose, you’ll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.
You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.
Thyroid Surgeons And Doctors At The Surgical Clinic
If you and your doctor decide that surgery is the treatment you need. Come visit The Surgical Clinic. We have many providers in Tennessee who can give you the care you need. All of our board-certified surgeons are highly trained individuals and have many years of experience.;
356 24th Ave. North | Suite 400 | Nashville, TN 37203TEL 615.329.7887 FAX 615.340.4537
FOOT & ANKLE SPECIALISTS OF NASHVILLE4230 Harding Pike | Suite 202 | Nashville, TN 37205TEL 615.662.6676 FAX 615.662.8371
300 20th Ave. North | Suite 301 | Nashville, TN 37203TEL 615.284.2400 FAX 615.284.4644
4230 Harding Pike | Suite 525 | Nashville, TN 37205TEL 615.385.1547 FAX 615.297.9161
3443 Dickerson Pike | Suite 600 | Nashville, TN 37207TEL 615.865.0700 FAX 615.865.0701
4322 Harding Pike | Suite 326 | Nashville, TN 37205TEL 615.620.7800 FAX 615.620.7805
397 Wallace Rd. | Suite 301 | Nashville, TN 37211TEL 615.425.0550 FAX 615.833.8287
4535 Harding Pike | Suite 304 | Nashville, TN 37205TEL 615.269.9007 FAX 615.269.3448
356 24th Ave. North | Suite 300 | Nashville, TN 37203TEL 615.301.5264 FAX 615.340.4537
85 White Bridge Rd | 2nd Floor | Nashville, TN 37205TEL 615.938.7545 FAX 615.938.7546
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What Are The More Serious Complications Of Hyperthyroidism
People with advanced and extreme hyperthyroidism face a ramshackle of problems, some of them life-threatening. The good news, though, is many patients do not reach this level of severity. Complications can include:
- Graves ophthalmopathy or Thyroid Eye Disease , which may soon be treatable using a new drug called Teprotumumab
- Irregular heartbeat, which can lead to:
- blood clots
- other heart problems
Bottom line: The longer you have an overactive thyroid and go without treatment, the greater the risk of lifelong complications, even after treatment. As over 60 percent of people with thyroid disease go undiagnosed, its important to listen to your body before reversible symptoms like weight loss and insomnia become life-threatening issues such as irregular heartbeat , bone loss , and infertility .
Do One Thing Right Now
Relax! Slowing things down is keyeven if it feels counterintuitive with all the sped up effects of the condition. The GDATF recommends practicing yoga, Tai Chi, self-hypnosis, and meditation.
Common Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism Include:
How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?
Early detection is important so that you and your doctor can outline a plan for hyperthyroidism treatment before it causes irreversible damage. Dr. Brenessa Lindeman, Assistant Professor of Surgery and Medical Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, emphasizes the need for people with suspicious symptoms to advocate for your own health and get checked for hyperthyroidism early to prevent serious complications like osteoporosis, premature menopause, or even cardiac arrest.
Methods of diagnosis for hyperthyroidism include:
The More Medication Myth
You may have heard that thyroid hormones can be used to lose weight, even in people without thyroid disease. While synthetic thyroid hormones have been used this way in the past, research has shown that most people gain all the weight back once they stop using them. Worse, being on thyroid hormones unnecessarily can result in serious side effects.
For people who are already using levothyroxine, increasing the dose above what’s needed can lead to more weight loss, but it’s usually not significant and those pounds are often gained back once the dose is decreased again. This is also an unhealthy way to lose weight as an increased dose is also associated with adverse reactions, including heart issues, insomnia, headaches, menstrual irregularities and skin rash.