Losing weight and keeping it off is often difficult for many people. Sometimes the problem can be traced back to a physical condition. If your doctor hasn’t mentioned it yet you may want to ask him or her to check your thyroid. If you can’t lose weight because of a sluggish thyroid or fluctuating hormones or low levels of certain nutrients there are things that your doctor can do to help.
Check Your Thyroid if You Can’t Lose Weight
Most of us already know that eating less and moving more are the keys to dropping extra pounds. But if you’re already doing everything “right” and can’t seem to lose weight — or are even gaining it — you may have a hidden health condition that’s sabotaging your efforts. And the symptoms may be so subtle that even your doctor can miss them. Here, some possible weight-loss blockers — and how to get the help you need.
A Sluggish Thyroid
Your thyroid gland makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) disrupts your metabolism, as well as many other aspects of your health. Some estimate that as many as 10 percent of adults have hypothyroidism, which is more common in women and is most often diagnosed in the 40s and 50s.
Could this be you? Besides weight gain or an inability to lose weight, you may notice fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, joint pain and muscle weakness, heavy periods, increased sensitivity to cold, even depression. Many people with low-grade hypothyroidism just feel “off,” with no obvious signs of being truly sick.
How to get tested: Ask your internist to run a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) screening. In general, the higher your TSH level, the slower your thyroid is. “While traditional ‘normal’ values are between .45 and 4.5, if your level is above 2, you might still struggle to lose weight,” explains Dr. Jamie Kane, M.D., medical director of Park Avenue Medical Weight and Wellness in New York City. Your doctor may also want to check your levels of T-3 and T-4, the two main thyroid hormones.
But hypothyroidism isn’t always a straight numbers game; more and more doctors are now treating the symptoms, not just the blood-test results. “If a patient isn’t feeling well, it’s often because her thyroid isn’t functioning as well as it should for her body,” says Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D., an internist in New York City.
How it’s treated: Your doc will usually start by prescribing a low-dose T-4 thyroid hormone like Synthroid. If your symptoms don’t improve, discuss upping your dosage or switching to a combination of T-3 and T-4.
Click here to read more from Jennifer Benjamin, in the CNN Health section.
You probably feel very discouraged at this point in your weight loss efforts, if you have tried many different weight loss programs you may think it won’t make any difference but have your doctor check your thyroid if you can’t lose weight. Even if you have had it checked before, sometimes you need a second opinion or a more thorough test. Don’t give up even if you have a thyroid problem with the right treatment and diet plan you can still lose weight!