What is abnormal weight gain?

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Abnormal weight gain: Overview

There are two types of weight gain—normal and abnormal. Normal weight gain is usually caused by eating too much or exercising too little. It can also happen as you get older.

But abnormal weight gain has other causes. It can be caused by a problem with your thyroid gland, called hypothyroidism. Or it can be caused by a problem with your adrenal glands, called Cushing's syndrome. Or your body could be holding too much fluid because of kidney, liver, or heart problems. In some cases, a medicine you take can cause you to gain weight.

You can work with your doctor to find out the cause of your weight gain. You will probably need tests to do this.

How can you care for abnormal weight gain?

  • Weigh yourself at the same time every day. It's best to do it first thing in the morning after you empty your bladder. Be sure to always wear the same amount of clothing.
  • Write down any changes in your weight and the possible causes. Discuss these with your doctor.
  • Your doctor may want you to change your diet and exercise habits. A good way to lose weight is to reduce calories and increase exercise.
  • Walking is an easy way to get exercise. Try to walk a little longer every day. You also may want to swim, bike, or do other activities.
  • Ask your doctor if you should see a dietitian. This is a person who can help you plan meals that work best for your lifestyle.
  • If your doctor prescribed medicines, take them exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

Abnormal weight gain: When to call

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.
  • You continue to gain weight.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.