Obesity is a growing issue and a serious medical problem affecting numerous people all around the world. Only older people used to be overweight, but today obesity is reported to be more present even in younger individuals, particularly children. Although intake of too much calories and sedentary lifestyles are the main reasons behind obesity, the problem may be sometimes related to certain endocrine system dysfunctions.
Obesity and Endocrine System Dysfunction
It is confirmed that disorders of several endocrine glands are associated with obesity. Even though it is clear that one simply cannot gain weight if caloric intake is equal or less than calories expenditure, in case of certain endocrine gland disorders the metabolism slows down and the body does not spend taken calories. This is typical for all individuals suffering from hypothyroidism. They are prone to weight gain although they might not have changed their eating habits and do not consume high-caloric foods. These patients are additionally affected by fluid retention which only increases the appearance of being obese. Fortunately, once the condition is brought under control with hormone replacement therapy, patients suffering from hypothyroidism may soon lose weight and return their bodies back to normal.
Another endocrine disorder associated with obesity is Cushing's disease. It develops due to excess of cortisol, a hormone produced by the cortex of the adrenal gland. These patients have increased appetite and fat metabolism is changed in such a way that they easily gain weight. Furthermore, people suffering from Cushing's disease undergo specific distribution of fat tissue. Namely, in them the upper part of the body, to be more precise the torso contains the most fat tissue while extremities remain thin. Also, there is a deposition of fat on the back of the neck called "buffalo hump".
Hypopituitarism is one more endocrine dysfunction that may be blamed for obesity. The reason why hypopituitarism leads to obesity is not completely understood but it may have something to do with hypothyroidism, a condition that also occurs in people suffering from hypopituitarism.
Obesity and Other Diseases
It is essential to memorize that there are plenty more medical conditions and syndromes that are not endocrine in origin but are responsible for obesity. Turner syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome are two genetic disorders characterized by many changes in the body with obesity as only one of them.
Finally, even intake of some medications, particularly if treatment lasts for a long period of time may cause obesity.
The reason behind obesity must be thoroughly explored and if there is an underlying condition, it needs to be treated. Dietary changes and an increase in physical activity remain the most important parts of the overall plan of weight loss.