Healthy Living

3 Medical Conditions That Can Cause Obesity: How to Prevent and Treat It

For those of you that have tried weight loss products, “Consult Your Doctor Before ____” is a line that you’re probably very familiar with, in most cases you have come to ignore. I mean is it really not that important to consult your doctor? This line is usually just there so that they can cover their butts, right? I am here to tell you today that it’s actually a really good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new health plan!

When talking to your doctor, not only can you discuss how effective the program may be for you, but a doctor can also check to make sure there isn’t a medical condition that is the cause of obesity for you. Sometimes we just think of poor diet and lack of exercise as the main cause. And while this is definitely a factor, oftentimes there are other underlying issues, or medical conditions that is the cause of obesity. Conditions that make it nearly impossible to lose weight through exercise and nutrition alone.

While it is totally unfair, that is just the hand that you are drawn. While you can do the best you can to try to prevent these conditions, sometimes they cannot be avoided. Learning how to cope with your condition and treat it can help you take back control of your life.

3 Medical Conditions That Can Cause Obesity

Insulin Resistance Syndrome/Metabolic Syndrome

What is it?

Some of you (especially those with diabetes) have probably heard these terms thrown around. Normally nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream via sugars and other basic substances. Your pancreas responds to this by releasing extra insulin which attaches to cells and removes the sugar for energy.

In insulin resistance, the body’s cells have a diminished ability to respond to the action of the insulin hormone. To compensate for the insulin resistance, the pancreas secretes more insulin. This can cause a laundry list of issues.

Insulin resistance can also be the result of a poor diet. As we eat processed foods, our bodies will require more insulin to metabolize it, causing our cells to be less responsive.

What Effect Does This Have on Me?

On top of obesity, insulin resistance can cause a variety of other health complications. Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and heart disease…to name a few.

What are the Symptoms of IRS?

IRS is hard because most of the signs you have it come from having one or all of the complications listed above. Kidney damage is also a sign that you might have IRS.

How Do I Treat Insulin Resistance Syndrome?

There are medications that can be prescribed by your doctor. These are heavily restricted by the FDA because of the heart risks involved. Changing your diet is also very important if you have been diagnosed with this disorder. A diet full of whole grains, high-fiber foods, vegetables, fresh fruit, protein, and EFA’s will also help insulin resistance and refrain from processed foods at all costs. Exercise is also very important to help insulin levels stay normal.

How Do I Prevent IRS?

Girl jogging with a green smoothie

Simple things like exercising, eating right and maintaining a healthy weight can greatly decrease your chance of getting this disorder.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What is it?

PCOS is caused when a woman’s sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, go out of balance. This results in ovarian cysts (masses on the ovaries) which is what leads to hormone imbalances. It’s quite common as it affects about 1 in every 15 women. Another contributing factor may be an overproduction of androgen, which is a male sex hormone. This can affect the development and release of eggs. PCOS also happens to be linked to insulin resistance.

What Effect Does This Have on Me?

PCOS usually happens around the childbearing age and can make it hard for a woman to become pregnant. Because PCOS decreases the amount of female sex hormones, women may develop certain male characteristics.

What are Symptoms of PCOS?

On top of obesity, other symptoms include acne, extra hair on the face and body, thinning hair on the scalp, irregular periods, depression and fertility issues.

What’s the Treatment?

Unfortunately PCOS isn’t curable, but there are things that can be done to control and manage PCOS to prevent complications. Treatment will vary as different women will experience different symptoms. But in general a healthy diet and exercise is highly recommended, which will help to regulate your cycle and lower blood glucose levels. A doctor may also prescribe medicines based on specific symptoms. Birth control pills and fertility medicines are commonly given.

How Do I Prevent It?

Polycystic ovary system cannot be prevented, but an early diagnoses will help to prevent long-term conditions.


What is it?

In hypothyroidism your body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is responsible for running your body’s metabolism, so when you do not have enough of it you are likely to experience a slowed metabolism.

What Effects Does Hypothyroidism Have On Me?

If you have this disorder, you will likely feel tired and weak. Your cholesterol levels will increase putting you at greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Because of a slow metabolism you may also find that you are having a hard time losing weight.

What are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

There’s a lot of signs that you might have hyperthyroidism. If you experience most or all of these symptoms you definitely want to make an appointment with your doctor. Feeling tired, weak, or depressed along with dry skin and brittle nails are all symptoms. Along with inability to stand cold sensations, constipation, and memory problems/clouded thinking. Women might experience heavy or irregular menstrual periods, and weight gain.

What’s the Treatment?

Your doctor can give you a list of thyroid hormones to help with this condition. These medications work to restore adequate hormone levels. And over time will help you to feel less fatigued, and will slowly lower cholesterol. Exercising often and a healthy diet are also recommended. Some weight loss tips for hypothyroidism include: eating 5-6 small healthy meals a day, eating more anti-inflammatory foods, cutting out processed foods, and living an active lifestyle.

How Do I Prevent It?

Hypothyroidism is not curable, but there are some things that you can do to hopefully prevent this condition. Stopping smoking, testing for thyroid antibodies, and staying away from too much soy are a few ways to prevent hypothyroidism.

The Wrap Up

These are just a few medical conditions that can cause weight gain and hamper weight loss. Weight loss on its own can be a daunting task, so adding medical complications to the mix, definitely doesn’t make it any easier! I wish there was a miracle cure-all treatment for these conditions. And while there isn’t, there is something that we can do to help prevent and/or cope with these conditions: Live a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet and regular exercise is important not only to feel better, but also to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

I have found that the healthier I am eating and the more active I am, the more energy I have and I am happier as well. Making sure that you are eating better and staying active, will make a big difference for your overall health and well-being.

Deciding to make a change is the first step but where are you going to start? A great starting point would be to try the IdealPlan. This 30 Day Challenge provides custom meals customized to fit your needs, to help you reach your ideal weight and maximize fat loss.

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Caitlin Peterson

Caitlin Peterson

Writer and expert

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