Have you been wondering why your efforts to lose weight have no effect at all? Have you tried almost all kinds of weight loss trends, diets, and pills but still putting on the pounds? Maybe it’s time to take a step back and think about it because the reason why you’re not losing weight may be because of an underlying health condition.
A person is considered overweight if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29 and the usual reasons why you’re overweight are the following:
- consumption of junk foods
- medications such as antidepressants
- addiction to food
- aggressive advertisements of unhealthy food
- food availability
- high insulin level
- resistance to leptin
- excessive sugar intake
- wrong information about nutrition
However, the cause of your weight problem may lie beyond those mentioned above. Here are some health problems that may be the reason why you’re overweight now.
This is a type of mental illness wherein a person has changeable moods, sleep patterns, thinking, and behavior. The disorder is classified into various types and usually triggered by hormonal problems, abuse, traumatic events, and mental stress. A bipolar person goes through periods of depression that leads them to overeat and gain excessive weight. Recommended treatment includes therapy and medication.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
A person with GAD constantly worries about various things and is unable to control it. Symptoms may include palpitations, unable to sleep and unable to concentrate. Women are the ones mostly affected by the disorder and the causes may include childhood abuse, excessive tobacco or caffeine use, stress, and a history of anxiety within the family.
The stress and tension felt by persons with GAD increase cortisol levels resulting in heightened food cravings. The recommended treatment includes medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Persons with hypothyroidism experience slow metabolism since the thyroid gland is unable to produce thyroid hormones. Its symptoms include weight gain, dry and itchy skin, hair loss, muscle or joint pain, constant tiredness, feeling depressed and unable to concentrate. The most common treatment for this condition includes radiation therapy, medication and surgical removal of the thyroid.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is characterized by bloating, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, and gas. A person with IBS may experience days when they don’t feel the symptoms and may tend to overeat resulting in weight gain. The usual treatment may include medication, counseling, exercise, the use of a natural appetite suppressant, and the consumption of high-fiber food like fruits and vegetables.
Persistent depressive disorder (Dysthymia)
Dysthymia is a chronic form of depression that may linger for years. The most common symptoms may include sadness, tiredness, loss of interest in daily events, low self-esteem, difficulty in making decisions, irritable, always angry, inability to sleep well, poor appetite or overeating, feelings of guilt and avoidance of any social activity.
The known causes are due to inherited traits or may be due to traumatic life events like financial burdens, loss of a loved one or increased levels of stress. The recommended treatment for the disorder includes medication and psychotherapy.
Women experience menopause when they reach the ages between 45 and 50 years old. During this time their menstrual period stops and the ovaries cease producing the estrogen and progesterone hormones. Unfortunately, some symptoms accompany this condition which may include hot flashes or night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, hair loss, osteoporosis, and insomnia.
Also, because of the hormonal changes, women tend to gain weight, especially in the abdomen area. To alleviate the dire effects, it’s advisable to maintain a balanced diet, get a healthy lifestyle and pursue physical exercise.
Women are diagnosed with this condition during pregnancy and experience high blood sugar levels, which endanger their health as well as their baby. The usual symptoms include the constant urge to urinate and unexplained bouts of hunger or thirst which could lead to excessive weight gain. The condition usually disappears after childbirth and symptoms can be managed by eating the right food and staying active during pregnancy by going on walks, swimming or taking yoga lessons.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Women who have PCOS experience a hormonal imbalance wherein there is an overproduction of androgen or male hormones. The symptoms include excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual periods, hair loss, acne, ovarian cyst growth, depression, acne, and weight gain. The recommended treatment for PCOS includes medication, lifestyle changes, and eating a balanced diet. You can treat PCOS naturally by following these diet changes:
- go for whole foods that are free of preservatives and sugar
- increase iron and magnesium intake
- consume soy products
- cut down on your coffee intake
- be sure to balance the intake of carbs and protein-rich food
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
This digestive disorder affects people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. It is characterized by the backing up of acidic stomach juices, food, and fluids from the stomach to the esophagus as the disorder causes muscles between these organs to relax. The usual symptoms include heartburn, tooth erosion, chest pain, difficulty in swallowing food, regurgitation, and belching.
Affected persons tend to overeat to relieve pain and reduce the effects of GERD resulting in excessive weight gain. Medication, as well as lifestyle and diet change, are the known remedies of the disorder.
This autoimmune disorder got its name from the Japanese physician, Hakaru Hashimoto, who was the first to describe its symptoms. The disease attacks the thyroid causing it to be underactive. It is also called autoimmune thyroiditis and the symptoms include thinning hair, lower body muscle weakness, weight gain, constipation, puffy face, fatigue, and difficulty in getting pregnant. These are just some of the causes of the disease:
- excessive iodine
- exposure to radiation
- hormonal imbalance
Treatment is usually medication meant to restore the body’s metabolism and regulate hormone levels.
Cushing’s syndrome (hypercortisolism)
This condition occurs when the body has high levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that helps the body to handle stress and regulates processes like metabolism and immune response.
The common symptoms include pinkish or purple stretch marks, a rounded face, humps between the shoulders, acne, weight gain, thinning skin that’s more prone to bruises, irregular menstrual period, erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, high blood pressure, loss of emotional control, increased skin pigmentation, and headache. The recommended treatment is medication to stabilize cortisol levels as well as lifestyle and diet changes. Here are some tips to naturally lower cortisol levels:
- have adequate exercise
- maintain a healthy and worthwhile relationships
- get enough sleep
- take time to relax and have fun
- learn to identify stressful thinking
- take care of a pet animal
- eat healthy food
Congestive heart failure (CHF)
This chronic progressive disorder is characterized by fluid buildup around the heart, resulting in irregular pumping, specifically in the left ventricle. CHF endangers lives because once the ventricles fail to pump adequately, blood and other fluids can go to the lungs, liver, abdomen and the lower body. The early signs of CHF include weight gain, the constant urge to urinate, fatigue and swelling in the ankles, legs, and feet. However, the following warning signs are indications that your condition has reached a severe stage:
- irregular heartbeats
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- rapid breathing
- blue skin
Various tests help diagnose CHF and these are the following:
- electrocardiogram (ECG) – a test to check your heart by measuring electrical activity.
- echocardiogram – a test that uses ultrasound to check the heart muscles and valves by way of sound waves.
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – an imaging technique that uses scanners by way of magnetic fields and radio waves to check the body’s physiological processes.
- stress test – a test to determine how your heart works during physical activity and can pinpoint problems with your heart’s blood flow.
- blood test – a test that can evaluate how your vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, and heart are working and help diagnose diseases like AIDS, cancer, and anemia.
- cardiac catheterization – a procedure that can diagnose cardiovascular conditions and done by inserting a catheter into a vein or artery in the arm, neck or groin and threading to the heart’s blood vessels.
The recommended treatment for CHF includes medication and surgeries like angioplasty.
This is a benign tumor in the pituitary glands that overproduces prolactin, a hormone responsible for the production of breast milk for women and also helps regulate the immune system and influence behavior. The symptoms of prolactinoma include the following:
- milky discharge in the breasts even though not pregnant or breastfeeding
- vaginal dryness
- weight gain
- irregular menstrual period
- excessive hair growth
- erectile dysfunction
- enlarged breasts in men
- erectile dysfunction
- visual disturbances
The recommended treatment for the condition is medication and diet changes and to lower prolactin levels naturally, you should increase the intake of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E and eat food such as bananas, apples, pumpkins, and strawberries.
Being overweight is not considered healthy and ideal regardless of age and gender because countless health risks go with it. Just some of these health risks include the following:
High blood pressure
A condition wherein the pressure of your blood which is pumped through the arteries is higher than usual. Also called hypertension, it is considered as a silent killer since it usually has no warning symptoms and most people don’t easily realize that they already have it.
Type 2 diabetes
A chronic medical condition characterized by glucose builds up in your bloodstream. The body’s cells are unable to respond to insulin, which is supposed to help move the glucose from the blood to the cells. Symptoms of the condition include the following: fatigue, always hungry and thirsty, itchy skin, and blurry vision. When the condition becomes severe you’ll experience yeast infections, dark skin patches, foot pain, numbness in the extremities and slow-healing sores and wounds.
This condition happens when the brain’s blood supply is suddenly interrupted. The usual causes include blockage of arteries in the brain or ischemic stroke and bleeding in the brain tissue due to a burst blood vessel or hemorrhagic stroke. The warning signs of a stroke include the following: sudden garbled speech or difficulty in speaking, abrupt vision problem in one or both eyes, loss of balance, dizziness and severe headaches.
A condition characterized by blocking blood vessels which could lead to a heart attack and other heart disorders. The usual symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, nausea, and irregular heartbeat.
This disease is characterized by abnormal cell growth that can spread and destroy various parts of the body. Early signs include lumps and changes in the skin’s color while the common causes include tobacco, smoking, radiation exposure, viruses, and infections.
Your kidneys become damaged when you have the disease and means that the kidneys are no longer able to filter blood as they used to be. Common signs include difficulty in sleeping, dry and itchy skin, puffiness under the eyes, and frequent urination.
Aside from the health risks, you also bear emotional struggles and you become judged as a person. These are just some of the disadvantages that come with being overweight:
- the tendency to lose self-respect
- finding a romantic partner can be difficult
- you have a hard time shopping for your wardrobe
- you tend to feel depressed
- prevalence of back pain because of your extra weight
- your lifestyle and life quality will suffer
- higher risk of premature death
- you find it hard to breathe
- tying shoes and walking require extra effort
- you find it difficult to fit in the seat of a car, plane or bus
- there are limited options in the workplace because of your body size
- you have aching and broken-down feet
- undesirable body odor and perspiration
- higher risks of the knee and hip replacement
Having a healthy lifestyle and eating the right food is essential to keep your weight at a normal level. When you are overweight, countless health risks come with it and the more reason to worry if there are underlying health problems that cause you to have the condition. It’s important to identify these health perils so that ample treatment shall be given accordingly.