Hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid – can trigger weight gain but treating the thyroid condition does not necessarily result in weight loss. The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located at the base of the neck and is responsible for the production of many essential hormones which affect different areas of the body – including metabolism and weight.
Previous study: Does treatment of hypothyroidism lead to weight loss?
Previous research has found that treating hypothyroidism doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss, even though if left untreated it can contribute to weight gain. Researcher of the study, Elizabeth Pearce, said, “We frequently see patients who are disappointed that they do not have dramatic weight loss following initiation of thyroid hormone therapy, so these results were not entirely surprising. We found that modest weight loss following initiation of levothyroxine treatment for hypothyroidism occurs in only about half of patients.”
Co-moderator, Michael T. McDermott, said, “I would expect weight loss to occur but would expect [it] to be much more significant in people with more severe hypothyroidism and less, if any…in those with mild or very mild hypothyroidism, which most of the subjects in the current study had.”
Metabolism is the measurement of oxygen used by the body over a specific amount of time. When the measurement is taken at rest this is known as basal metabolic rate (BMR) which was one of the first tests to determine thyroid function. From early testing it was made known that a low thyroid hormones is associated with low BMR and high thyroid hormones is associated with high BMR.
In patients with hypothyroidism they generally have low BMR which is associated with weight gain because calories are burned off more slowly allowing sugar and fat to be stored. What is important to note is that changes in metabolism due to hypothyroidism are often less dramatic than changes seen in hyperthyroidism where a persons BMR is higher. Changes in hypothyroidism tend to be minimal but can worsen with the severity of hypothyroidism.
Another important note is that fat accumulation isn’t solely to blame for weight gain in hypothyroidism; in fact it has more to due with the retention and accumulation of salt and water.
Overall a person with hypothyroidism may experience five to 10 pounds of weight gain and if weight gain is the sole symptom of hypothyroidism then it may be associated with another condition and not just the thyroid.
A recent survey shows that many people with thyroid disease are unaware they have a thyroid problem. This is quite disconcerting as a hyperactive or a hypoactive (underactive) thyroid can cause a many health problems, including mood changes, infertility, weight gain or loss, and even skin conditions. In fact, in infants and children, an underactive thyroid can be fatal, which is why neonatal testing for thyroid deficiency is a must. Continue reading…
Grave’s disease increases the risk of hyperthyroidism and goiters. Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism – a condition where the thyroid overproduces hormones that can have negative consequences on the body, such as speeding up the metabolism, sudden weight loss and an irregular heartbeat. Continue reading…