A Doctor Explains When To Worry About Rapid Weight Gain – Health Digest

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To understand the issue, it’s first important to understand what constitutes rapid weight gain. “Rapid weight gain could be defined as gaining more than 5 pounds a month,” Noorda explained. 

While there could be simple explanations for weight gain, which we’ll discuss in a moment, Noorda says rapid weight gain could be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as a poorly functioning heart. The American Heart Association says gaining two or three pounds within a day or five pounds in a week might be a sign of retaining fluids. While your hydration levels will fluctuate day-to-day, weight gain combined with shortness of breath, swelling, or confusion could point to heart failure. If your heart isn’t working the way it should, keeping track of these symptoms and notifying your healthcare provider can help manage your condition.

Kidney and liver issues can also be a potential cause. If your kidneys aren’t filtering out waste from your body, you could see swelling in your legs or feet that could result in rapid weight gain, according to Medical News Today. Symptoms of kidney issues include muscle cramps, fatigue, and dry, itchy skin. Fluid buildup around your abdomen could mean cirrhosis of the liver, and cirrhosis is often accompanied by abdominal pain and difficulty breathing.

Noorda also pointed to sleep disorders as a common cause of rapid weight gain. Because sleep problems can disrupt the hormones that regulate your appetite and cause you to crave unhealthy foods, you could see some added pounds on the scale.

It’s also important to consider whether you might have started a new medication that has weight gain as a side effect, according to Noorda. Antidepressants, corticosteroids, and medications for diabetes or high blood pressure could cause you to gain weight.

Additionally, trauma or lifestyle-induced stress might be contributing to your rapid weight gain, said Noorda. A 2014 article in JAMA Psychiatry found that experiencing PTSD symptoms is associated with a higher risk of being overweight or developing obesity.

Yet other causes for rapid weight gain to consider, per Noorda, include uncontrolled hypothyroidism, hormone imbalances like PCOS or menopause, depression, and insulin resistance.

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