Oprah Winfrey has confirmed speculation that she has gained weight, posting on her website that she has hypothyroidism which caused her to gain 20 lbs.
“My body was turning on me. First hyperthyroidism, which sped up my metabolism and left me unable to sleep for days. (Most people lose weight. I didn’t.) Then hypothyroidism, which slowed down my metabolism and made me want to sleep all the time. (Most people gain weight. I did! Twenty pounds!) “
The thyroid is a small gland located in the front of your neck that regulates your metabolism. When your thyroid is overactive it is called hyperthyroidism and it can cause heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, nervousness, light menstrual periods, intolerance to heat, muscle weakness and weight loss. On the other hand, when the thyroid is under-active it is called hypothyroidism and it causes fatigue, weakness, coarse skin, depression, abnormal menstrual periods, decreased sex drive, hair loss, constipation, intolerance to cold and weight gain.
First off, I am not Oprah’s doctor, nor have I ever treated her, however her experience is quite common. Patients who are treated for hyperthyroidism, or over-active thyroid, with anti-thyroid mediation or radioactive iodine frequently gain weight, typically gaining about 8 lbs.Â For patients who subsequently develop hypothyroidism following treatment, their weight gain is usually more so Oprah’s weight gain of 20 lbs is not surprising. As in Oprah’s case, if patients are overweight to begin with or have a history of weight loss, they also more likely to gain weight when treated.
Oprah mentioned that her overactive thyroid didn’t cause weight loss. Many patients don’t have weight loss because their over-active thyroid makes them more hungry so they take in greater calories, which more than offsets their increased metabolism. It’s also important to note that hyperthyroidism also causes loss of metabolically active muscle mass. and each pound of muscle burns up to 50 calories per pound/day. So when patients with an overactive thyroid are treated, the are especially prone to weight gain because not only will the medications and treatment lower their metabolism but they also don’t have as much muscle mass to burn off calories.
Oprah is going to have to be doubly vigilant with what she eats and weight training is a good idea to help build up her lost muscle mass. Kudos to Oprah for being so candid about her recent weight gain. Hopefully her experience can help others. You can check out her post.
Tags: Celebrity, Celebrity Weight Gain, Oprah Winfrey
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