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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What medical condition could cause severe weight gain in a 54-year-old?

I am 54 yrs old and all of the sudden this spring I started gaining weight in my stomach and thighs, I had been working out 5 days a week and eating fairly well, but now I have gained 10-12lbs fairly quickly and can't lose any lbs at all, I have tried everything but don't understand why I picked up the weight so quickly? Is it hormones or I'm just getting old?
Wed, 12 Jun 2019
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Internal Medicine Specialist 's  Response

if you believe that this weight gain cannot be adequately justified by your lifestyle and eating habits then you should let your primary care physician assess your health both with clinical examination and with laboratory tests. This assessment should definitely exclude hypothyroidism (a serum TSH measurement is usually sufficient to exclude it). Other potential causes may include liver cirrhosis with fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites). Liver problems cannot justify the thigh enlargement though and we would expect other symptoms and signs as well. Sex hormones may play some role in males. Drugs may affect your appetite and how easy you may gain weight.

All of the aforementioned factors - and perhaps other factors too, that may apply to you - should be taken into account by your doctor. Accompanying symptoms are useful in this regard - if there are any!

On the other hand, it's a fact that we gain weight as we grow (300-500gr each year after the age of 30). Some people gain weight in the stomach, others in the thighs or other areas - genes determine body fat distribution.

So in conclusion, hypothyroidism is the first potential disorder that has to be excluded. You should visit your PCP for further investigation.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you need further assistance.

Kind Regards,
Dr Panagiotis Zografakis
Internal Medicine Specialist
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