Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Weight Gain Overview

What causes weight gain?
The most common cause of weight gain is overeating, which results in obesity. However, weight gain is more common in those who have behavioral disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder. Weight gain occurs in those with diabetes or hormonal imbalances, such as menopause, hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease. Illnesses that cause the body to retain fluid, such as heart failure, kidney failure, cirrhosis, and preeclampsia, can cause weight gain. Weight gain may also be caused by a medication side effect.

What are the symptoms of weight gain?
Symptoms that may occur with weight gain include fatigue, difficulty breathing with exercise, and joint pains. When the weight gain is triggered by an illness that causes the body to retain fluid, additional symptoms include abdominal swelling, arm swelling (bilateral), and leg swelling (bilateral).

How does the doctor treat weight gain?
The treatment for weight gain depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for weight gain may include eating a low fat diet, regular exercise, and medication.

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Weight Gain References
  1. Amin A. Hospitalized patients with acute decompensated heart failure: recognition, risk stratification, and treatment review. J Hosp Med. 2008 Nov;3(6 Suppl):S16-24. Review. [19084891]
  2. Bhuvaneswar CG, Baldessarini RJ, Harsh VL, Alpert JE. Adverse endocrine and metabolic effects of psychotropic drugs: selective clinical review. CNS Drugs. 2009 Dec 1;23(12):1003-21. [19958039]
  3. Feldstein AC, Nichols GA, Smith DH, Rosales AG, Perrin N. Weight change and glycemic control after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Sep;23(9):1339-45. [18587618]
  4. Kodner C. Nephrotic syndrome in adults: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Nov 15;80(10):1129-34. Review. [19904897]
  5. Oliver JA, Verna EC. Afferent mechanisms of sodium retention in cirrhosis and hepatorenal syndrome. Kidney Int. 2010 Feb 10. [20147888]
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