The National Library of Medicine states that over 40 percent of Americans are overweight. Rapid weight gain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, or it can be due to an unhealthy lifestyle and diet. This weight gain may be an indication of serious health issues, and it may alert you to the need to evaluate your life and take steps to work towards a healthy weight.
Weight gain is most often caused by an upset in the “energy in” and “energy out” balance your body maintains, as described by the United States Department of Agriculture. When your body has few demands for energy in the form of physical activity, but is being provided with an excess amount of energy through high caloric meals, you will gain weight.
Other causes of weight gain include certain medications such as medications that address diabetes, seizures and depression, as well as antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers, according to the Mayo Clinic. Emotional issues such as depression or anxiety may cause weight gain, as well as alcohol use and quitting smoking. Some diseases that cause edema (water retention) may result in a rapid increase in weight, as well as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Being overweight brings a number of negative health consequences. The Mayo Clinic states that these include type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver problems, depression, infertility, gallbladder disease and cancer.
It’s important to understand when to seek the help of a health care professional for your weight gain. Because these symptoms may indicate a more serious problem, be sure to contact your doctor if you experience swelling and shortness of breath, vision changes, sweating and trembling accompanied by uncontrollable hunger, sensitivity to cold and hair loss. Your doctor will work with you to identify and treat the condition that may be causing your weight gain and these symptoms.
Often, weight gain cannot be attributed to a disease and is a matter of changing your diet and lifestyle. In this case, a health care professional can help you identify and implement the appropriate modifications.
The United States Department of Agriculture lists several suggestions for managing weight gain such as choosing healthy foods, reducing the amount of food you eat, making a habit of planning and keeping track of your diet and increasing your physical activity level through exercise.
Healthy Weight Loss
Although weight loss may be rapid in some cases, especially if the excess weight was due to a condition such as edema, in general, slower weight loss is healthier and brings lasting health benefits. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommends losing no more than 2 lbs. pounds per week. Avoid fad diets, and focus on lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight and work towards optimal health.