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Health conditions obstacles in weightloss efforts

Struggling with reaching your weight loss goals? Are you gaining weight despite your best efforts in the gym exercising and following a disciplined weight loss diet plan? You should get yourself checked for health conditions that could derail your efforts.Daily exercises and a healthy diet may not be enough to lose weight or stop weight gain, say fitness experts. If you suffer from any of below mentioned health conditions, you could be struggling to reach your fitness goals. Weight gain increases the risk of diseases and health problems like systemic heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure.

Obesity is a complex disorder/disease which involves excess amount of fat in the body. It is not just a cosmetic concern. It increases the risk of diseases and health problems like systemic heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure. There are genetic causes and behavioural causes associated with obesity. Beside lifestyle, unhealthy eating and inactivity, hormonal influences also lead to obesity.

Apart from these, there are certain medical conditions and medications which lead to weight gain. One such cause is reduced function of thyroid glands, called hypothyroidism, which results in weight gain. Dr Sheilja Singh, consultant internal medicine at Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, Mumbai, says, “That’s because thyroid is a hormone associated with basic metabolic activity. When thyroid is produced in the correct proportion, we burn calories quickly. On the other hand, too little hormone slows the metabolism and often causes weight gain.”

Women with PCOS tend to put on weight, particularly on their abdomen.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder wherein women have excess androgen levels in the body. They develop irregular menstrual cycles. “The hormonal disruption also affects metabolic activity. Along with other symptoms such as unusual hair growth and acne, women with PCOS tend to put on weight, particularly on their abdomen,” shares Dr Vaishali Lokhande, consultant, internal medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Mumbai.

When a person gets little to zero physical activity, he/she ends up with musculoskeletal conditions. People who have osteoarthritis, or arthritis due to other conditions, have difficulty exercising and live a largely sedentary lifestyle. Dr Singh says, “Moreover, some medications given for these conditions contribute to obesity. These include steroids, anti-epileptics, antipsychotics and several anti-depressants. They all contribute to weight gain if they are not compensated with proper diet and exercise.”

Oral contraceptive pills increase the level of estrogen in the body which, in turn, could also cause weight gain. “High estrogen contributes to fluid retention and a larger appetite, in addition to fat deposition. It is reversible if the pills are taken for short duration,” says Dr Lokhande.

Lipodystrophy, which is associated with HIV treatment, is linked to unusual fat deposits. “This is a condition where abnormal fat deposits form around the upper body, while fat loss happens over the face area.”

Common conditions like sleep deprivation or obstructive sleep apnea too cause weight gain and obesity. When a person sleeps less than six hours a night, two hormones called leptin and grelin come into play. Leptin[Read more]secreted by the brain, gives you satiety. While grelin hormone is secreted by the stomach, causes cravings for food. “When we sleep less, leptin reduces, and so does satiety. Also, grelin increases, because of which the person experiences frequent hunger. The choice of food in such cases tends to take a turn for the worse. In this way, sleep deprivation leads to obesity because of imbalance of these two hormones,”