Stubborn Weight Sticking Around? Check your thyroid
Trying to shed those extra pounds, but can’t seem to make any headway? Sean Mullendore, MD, CHI Health Clinic primary care provider, said having your thyroid checked is a good place to start.
“It’s definitely a good idea to check the thyroid if you’re trying to lose weight and having difficulty because the thyroid is one of the pieces of any weight gain, but usually it’s not just the thyroid alone,” Mullendore said. “There’s always a complex relationship between the thyroid, weight gain and body mass index. There are so many other pieces.” Mullendore said one of those pieces could simply be how seriously the individual is sticking to lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet, increased physical activity and modifying behavior.
Thyrotropin or TSH test is a blood test that measures the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Health care providers use this test to diagnose problems affecting the thyroid. This butterfly-shaped gland, located near the base of your throat above your collarbones, produces two hormones (T3 and T4) that affect your energy levels, mood, weight and other important parts of your health. The pituitary gland in your brain makes a chemical called TSH, which triggers your thyroid to make T3 and T4. When your pituitary gland makes too much or too little TSH, this can cause your thyroid to be overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism).
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include weight gain, fatigue, constipation, menstrual cycle irregularity, infertility, skin problems, hair loss or thinning hair, intolerance to cold temperatures and the inability to focus. Hypothyroidism is typically treated by hormone replacement, which is usually administered by taking a pill first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
People who have thyroid problems also may have tendency for other endocrine issues such as diabetes, calcium metabolic disorder and adrenal gland insufficiency. “That would be something that your physician would definitely want to check,” Mullendore said.