Medical Evaluation for Abnormal Weight Gain
Many people gain weight despite eating healthier and getting more physical activity. If you are working hard at losing weight and are not seeing results, you may have a medical problem. We specialize in the medical and hormonal evaluation and treatment of hormonal weight gain and diet-resistant obesity.
Hormones and body weight are very closely related. Often times, a hormonal disorder can be the underlying cause of weight gain or failure to lose weight with diet and exercise. An evaluation with a board-certified endocrinologist can identify treatable hormonal problems that may be interfering with weight loss.
Because abnormal weight gain is a medical problem, insurance companies usually allow a full evaluation with an endocrinologist. An evaluation typically includes obtaining a detailed history, physical examination and laboratory testing.
There are many different medical problems that can cause weight gain or make weight loss difficult. Dr. Isaacs prides himself in performing a detailed evaluation to look for the common and not so common causes of abnormal weight gain.
Trying to lose weight when you are hypothyroid can be frustrating. If your thyroid hormone levels aren’t ideal, your metabolism is slow and you may have other symptoms like fatigue, exercise intolerance, depression and brain fog that can prevent weight loss. To be successful losing weight it takes more than just treating the numbers. You must feel well and your thyroid hormone levels must be optimized and balanced with other hormones in the body.
Insulin resistance is the underlying cause of metabolic syndrome, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Treatments for insulin resistance improve the action of insulin in the body and in the brain where it acts as a natural anti-hunger hormone.
Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that sends a signal to the brain about how much fat is in the body. Leptin resistance means that the appetite and metabolism regulating centers of the brain don’t receive the message that there is too much fat in the body. Essentially, the brain thinks the body is starving even though there is excess fat. Additional hunger hormones including ghrelin, peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide-1, amylin and cholecystokinin are also important for the regulation of appetite and metabolic rate.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder in women that causes obesity through insulin resistance and symptoms from high male hormone levels known as hyperandrogenism. Women with PCOS struggle with difficulty losing weight despite low calorie diets and have other symptoms like menstrual irregularities, infertility, acne and facial hair growth. PCOS increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. There are many other endocrine disorders that have the same symptoms as PCOS so detailed hormonal testing is necessary. The ideal treatments for PCOS address the underlying causes to treat both the metabolic and reproductive aspects of this condition.
Cortisol is a “stress hormone" produced by the adrenal glands and regulated by the pituitary gland. Cortisol levels rise during tension-filled situations which can lead to increased appetite, craving sugary and fatty foods, fatigue, depression, weight gain and other symptoms. Too much cortisol can be produced by small tumors in the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland, resulting in significant changes in the tissues and organs of the body. This is known as Cushing's syndrome. Detailed endocrine testing can be done to evaluate for excess cortisol as a cause of weight gain.
Are you gaining weight despite eating next to nothing and exercising all the time? Is it easier for you to gain weight than lose weight? These are signs of a sluggish metabolism. Hormonal disorders and yo-yo dieting are the most common causes of a slow metabolism.