Generally speaking, weight gain is the intended or unintentional increase in body weight. Especially if there is an increase in weight without increased appetite or changes in food intake, but also if it occurs very suddenly and inexplicably, the causes should be clarified.
The body has a strong tendency to keep its weight stable. As long as there are no deficiencies that need to be compensated for and food intake and energy consumption are in balance, the body weight of healthy people will only fluctuate within narrow limits. Natural exceptions to this rule are, for example, pregnancy, growth during childhood or even building muscle mass through targeted training. In these situations, additional tissue is formed, which is of course noticeable on the scales.
Sudden weight gain? These are possible causes!
From a medical point of view, an increase in body weight can be interpreted as a possible disease symptom if it with no apparent cause or very suddenly he follows. In this respect, the following applies: If you gain weight, for example, without changing eating habits or despite an unchanged appetite, the causes should be clarified by a doctor. This is particularly true if the increase takes place over a relatively short period of time.
Common causes of weight gain
The most common cause of body weight gain is excessive energy intake through food, usually in the form of meals high in fat or carbohydrates. But basic diseases such as an underactive thyroid or heart failure as well as certain medications can also lead to weight gain.
In western countries, by far the most common reason for an increase in body weight in our modern day nutrition to search. Specifically, this means that our diet simply provides too much energy (measured in calories or kilojoules) – usually in the form of fat or carbohydrates (especially sugar) – which exceeds our actual needs. The body stores the excess energy from food as fat. A more or less pronounced overweight develops, which stresses the heart, circulatory system, joints and the metabolism.
But also different Diseases such as Medication can promote weight gain. Sometimes water retention is responsible for a change in weight.
Other causes of weight gain:
- Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Taking medication (such as antidepressants, estrogens, insulin)
- Cushing syndrome (increased appetite is typical, also full moon face)
- Tumors in the hormonal centers of the brain (pituitary gland, hypothalamus)
- Tumors that give off insulin or growth hormones
Changes in body weight are not always due to fat deposits or growth processes. As a result of various diseases, water is often stored in the organism. This takes the form of Edema (Swelling due to water retention) noticeable, for example, on the ankles, in the abdomen or in the lungs.
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© picture of woman
Starting points for water retention are, for example:
- Disorders of the mineral and salt balance
- Heart failure (heart failure) – frequently visible water retention, especially in the area of the ankles and lower legs, frequent urination at night
- Liver cirrhosis: Abdominal dropsy – significant increase in abdominal circumference as a result of water retention
- Kidney disease (water retention especially in the leg area)
- Underactive thyroid
- Diabetes mellitus
- certain medications such as the birth control pill (the package leaflet provides information here)
Have the weight gain checked by a doctor
To determine the cause of weight gain, the extent and rate of weight change should be known as accurately as possible. This information can be obtained through Weight, nutrition and activity logs be won.
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If there is no evidence of malnutrition or if additional symptoms such as edema indicate another cause of the weight gain, further tests for diagnosis are essential.
As with all diseases, this also applies to an unexplained weight gain Doctor's talk at the beginning of the diagnosis. Of particular interest are:
- Changes in eating habits
- decreased physical activity
- General complaints that indicate a physical or mental illness, such as listlessness (e.g. with depression), sleep disorders, increased thirst (e.g. due to diabetes mellitus), cravings etc.
- hormonal disorders
- taking medication
Indications of the cause of the weight gain are in the physical exam checked and supplemented. It is particularly important to check the body for edema. Blood and urine tests provide information about the condition of the kidneys, liver and hormone system (including sugar metabolism, thyroid function). Blood pressure and cardiac function test (EKG, ultrasound) allow initial conclusions to be drawn about heart function. If necessary, further special examinations are carried out.
Weight gain: treatment varies depending on the cause
Dietary problems as the cause of weight gain require the cooperation of patient, doctor and nutritionist for treatment. The goal is to coordinate and optimize nutrition and physical activity. Other causes of weight gain, such as heart failure or hormone disorders, are treated as specifically as possible.
Treating nutritional errors as the cause of weight gain often requires one from those affected Change their eating and living habits. This is not easy and experience has shown that it takes a few weeks of consistent perseverance before a new routine is established and the practiced health behavior, such as a more varied and low-fat diet, goes without saying.
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Mental illnesses as a cause of weight gain are caused by Psychiatrist or psychologist treated. Patients should indicate this at an early stage if the disease itself or its therapy (e.g. with some medication for depression) leads to weight gain. Often the therapy can be adjusted to prevent weight gain.
This generally applies to all medications that can cause weight gain. In many cases, other treatment options can be tried that circumvent or improve the weight problem.
Is it a weight gain due to illness, it is important to treat the cause in a targeted manner. For example, by means of antihypertensive or heart-strengthening agents for heart failure, thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism or dehydrating agents for renal dysfunction. If the therapy works, the problem of weight gain usually also normalizes.
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