Q and A: Thyroid and Weight

December 2006

Q:  I have Hashimoto’s Disease and have been on thyroid hormone for 7 months now.  I’m finding it very hard to lose weight.  I’ve given much effort to food selections and exercising (jogging 10 miles/week).  After one month, I see very little change in the numbers on the scale and in my clothes.  Is this a lost cause???

Can Hashimotos Disease have a significant effect on not being able to lose weight?

I have hyperthyroid disease and I am in the treatment process now, so please provide me with a diet to follow, in order not to gain weight.

A: Thyroid hormone is one of a complex assortment of hormones and proteins that help to regulate body weight. In general, hypothyroidism causes the body’s metabolism to slow, resulting in a shift in the balance between calories eaten and energy used. Hypothyroid patients may also experience some fluid retention. The net result may be weight gain, usually of no more than 5-10 lbs. Hypothyroidism alone does not cause severe obesity.

After starting L-thyroxine treatment for hypothyroidism, patients may experience some weight loss that is usually modest and gradual. Once thyroid hormone levels are normalized with L-thyroxine treatment, the ability to lose weight is no different than it is for anyone else. Some general suggestions about diet and exercise for weight loss can be found at www.diabetes.org/weightloss-and-exercise.jsp.

Medical Disclaimer The information contained in or made available through the American Thyroid Association Website is not intended to replace the services of a trained health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians. The user should consult a physician in all matters relating to his or her health, and particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. The American Thyroid Association makes no representations or warranties with respect to any information offered or provided within or through the American Thyroid Association Website regarding treatment, action, or application of medication.
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