Throughout our lives our weight can fluctuate with factors such as age, illness, diet, hormones and mobility contributing.
Changes to your weight could be due to something harmless like a lifestyle change.
However, if you notice a “sudden” or unexpected difference this could be cause for concern.
Speaking about sudden weight gain, pharmacist Abbas Kanani from Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, said: “It can be subjective and may vary from person to person.
“Sudden weight gain typically refers to a significant increase in weight that occurs over a relatively short period of time.
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“The specific timeframe and amount of weight gain considered ‘sudden’ can depend on various factors, including the person’s baseline weight, body composition and underlying health conditions.”
Medical conditions linked to weight gain
He warned that weight gain can be caused by fluid retention in the body or changes to our metabolism – both of which can signal something more serious.
“An underactive thyroid gland, also known as hypothyroidism, can slow down metabolism, leading to fluid retention,” Mr Kanani said.
“Thyroid hormones, primarily triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), help regulate the body’s metabolic rate.
“These hormones influence how the body uses energy from food. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient hormones, leading to a reduced metabolic rate.
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“This can result in fewer calories burned at rest and contribute to weight gain.
“Hypothyroidism can also cause water retention or oedema, leading to temporary weight gain.
“This is due to the decreased efficiency of the thyroid hormones in regulating fluid balance in the body.
“The accumulation of fats in the body as a result of hypothyroidism can also lead to weight gain, especially in the form of increased body fat.
“People with an underactive thyroid may experience changes in appetite too which can lead to an increase in eating.”
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Heart failure, kidney or liver disease can also cause fluid retention in the body, leading to sudden weight gain, he warned.
Another medical condition affecting metabolism is Cushing’s syndrome.
“Cushing’s syndrome is a condition that occurs when the body produces an excessive amount of cortisol, a hormone that regulates metabolism,” Mr Kanani continued.
“Weight gain, particularly in the face, upper back and abdomen can be a symptom.”
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also cause weight gain in people with ovaries due to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances, he said.
What to do if you experience sudden weight gain
Unexplained weight gain can have various causes, said Mr Kanani, including medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, lifestyle factors or a combination of factors, so it is advisable to have your symptoms checked by your doctor and to not assume you may have a specific condition.
He added: “If an underlying medical condition is identified as the cause of the weight gain, you will be recommended an appropriate treatment plan which you should follow.
“It is important to evaluate your dietary habits, portion sizes, eating patterns and overall calorie intake.
“Additionally, consider your physical activity levels and any changes in lifestyle habits that might be contributing to weight gain.”
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