Hypothyroidism & Weight: Get the Facts
Mild weight gain (5-20 pounds) and difficulty losing weight are common symptoms of hypothyroidism. But it’s important to understand that taking a high dose of your hypothyroidism medicine will NOT help you lose the weight quickly, and it is never recommended as a weight loss drug.
The risks of high doses
If you take a levothyroxine (active ingredient in hypothyroidism medications) dose that is too high, it could cause weakness in muscles and bones, and even serious heart problems.
You should NEVER take hypothyroidism medication to treat obesity or weight loss. If you have a normal level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, typical levothyroxine doses won’t be effective, and larger doses could result in serious or even life-threatening problems.
The right ways to lose weight
So what can help you lose the weight you might have gained due to hypothyroidism? Lead a healthy lifestyle. Being physically active and making smart food choices is important for your overall health. These healthy choices may also help you lose the weight you gained with hypothyroidism. Leading a healthy lifestyle also may lead to an improvement in other hypothyroidism symptoms, like unhealthy cholesterol levels and mood-related symptoms. Just make sure you always talk to your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise program.*
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1. American Thyroid Association. ATA Hypothyroidism Booklet. Falls Church, Va: American Thyroid Association; 2003.
2. US Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Finding Your Way to a Healthier You. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/brochure.htm. Accessed March 1, 2013.