Q.I would like to know why some people with an altered thyroid gland gain weight and others lose it.
A.The hormones produced by the thyroid play such an important role in our metabolism that if the gland's functionality is altered in any way, the body's metabolism will be affected. In the case of hypothyroidism, the body's metabolism slows down and body weight can increase if calorie intake is not decreased, or physical activity increased. In the case of hyperthyroidism, the body's metabolism increases and weight loss can occur quickly if calorie intake is not increased. It is very important that people who are overweight or obese as a result of hypothyroidism, work closely with their physicians to get their thyroid condition under control before starting a diet and exercise program. Then, your physician can refer you to a dietitian to assure that your diet and exercise plan is appropriate for your condition. Keep in mind that, contrary to what many people believe, most overweight or obesity problems are not a result of thyroid problems.
Dr. Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.
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