Is your weight getting you down?

If you’re finding it hard to lose weight, particularly around your middle, you’re not alone. Many women notice that as they get older, they begin to gain weight or find it increasingly difficult to lose weight – especially around the waistline.

A long-term study of Australian women found that those aged 45-50 years gain an average of just over three kilograms over a period of eight years. During that time, the number of women classified as overweight or obese increased from four in 10 to six in 10.

This gradual weight gain is sometimes called ‘middle-aged spread’.

Weight gain or difficulty losing weight is a common problem for many women as they get older. #healthyweight #weightgain #losingweight #health Click To Tweet


What causes weight gain?

Weight gain can be a result of a number of causes. As we know, the most common culprits are diet – overeating or eating a diet high in fat and sugar – and not getting enough regular exercise. 

Other factors can also contribute, such as poor sleep, stress, medications, hormonal changes including menopause, and metabolic issues.


Metabolic issues and weight gain

Metabolic issues can be common in people who carry excess weight around their middle. These issues can also occur in tandem with other symptoms or health problems – which doctors refer to as ‘metabolic syndrome’.

Metabolic syndrome is a broad term used to describe a group of symptoms that occur together, including high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.

It’s a surprisingly common condition, affecting more than one in four Australians.

While it can be effectively managed, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing other health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke (up to double the risk) and type 2 diabetes (up to five times the risk).

If you’ve started to put on a few kilos around your middle – this doesn’t necessarily mean you have metabolic syndrome. To be diagnosed with this condition, you need to have a number of other contributing or related health issues.

It’s estimated between 20-30% of Australians have metabolic syndrome. This is a group of disorders that occur together which can increase your risk of other health conditions, including diabetes. #health #wellness #metabolicsyndrome… Click To Tweet


How is metabolic syndrome diagnosed?

People are generally diagnosed with the condition if they have three or more of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • excess fat around their middle  
  • elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
  • high blood triglycerides (fat in the blood)
  • low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol — high-density lipoproteins (HDL) 
  • pre-diabetes, insulin resistance or diabetes

These individual conditions are usually determined by a series of blood tests and an examination by your doctor.


What role does the thyroid play in weight gain? 

What we’re learning is that there are a number of factors that impact and influence weight gain in our middle-aged years. Another contributing factor is thyroid function.

Researchers have found that people with metabolic syndrome often have an underactive thyroid (known as hypothyroidism). Even if you don’t have metabolic syndrome, an underactive thyroid can increase your risk of developing this condition or some of the symptoms that contribute to it. 

An underactive thyroid can also lead to weight gain (with or without metabolic syndrome), or difficulty losing weight.


What to monitor and why?

It’s important to keep an eye on your thyroid if you’re concerned about your weight or focused on losing weight – particularly from around your middle. 

Because weight gain can also predispose you to pre-diabetes (or type 2 diabetes), the thyroid and diabetes tests go hand-in-hand if you’re monitoring your health or the impact of any weight gain.

Testing for diabetes and thyroid conditions helps to ensure that your weight loss efforts aren’t being sabotaged by other health factors. And, importantly, it will give you the opportunity to take early action if other health issues are contributing to your weight gain, or need to be addressed.

Having an underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain, or difficulty losing weight. #health #wellness #healthyweight #thyroid #thyroidtest Click To Tweet


At home health screening

Self monitoring is a great way to take control of your health

If you’re wanting a hassle-free way to screen for diabetes and thyroid conditions, then MyHealthTest’s thyroid and diabetes at home blood tests are a great way to start. These tests can be helpful in determining if metabolic issues or thyroid problems may be impacting your weight.

Our Thyroid (TSH) Test is an initial blood test that checks the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood. If your level is outside the expected range, it may indicate that there is a thyroid problem that needs following up.

Similarly, our Diabetes (HbA1c) Test measures your average blood sugar levels over the last three months, making it a useful tool to check if you’re at risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

You can safely and easily check your thyroid health and risk for diabetes at home with a fingerprick screening test #health #wellness #diabetes #thyroid #screening #HbA1c #TSH Click To Tweet


If in doubt, talk to your GP

As you can see, the link between thyroid function, metabolic syndrome and diabetes is complex and inter-related. However these conditions – either alone or collectively – can contribute to the frustrating problem of weight gain as you get older.

If you’re concerned about your weight and the potential for related health problems – including thyroid issues, pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome – then talk to your GP.


Take control to stay healthy

Remember, our body is complex and there can be a variety of reasons or health conditions (sometimes working together) that make it hard to maintain a healthy weight. 

Understanding what factors are at play and how they influence your overall health means you can take positive steps to address any concerns you may have. 

The good news is that metabolic syndrome and its associated conditions can be easily managed.


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