Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

My Daughter Has Hyperthyroidism. How Can I Help Her Lose Weight?

Friday, 11 June 2010 04:29 PM

Question: My daughter was diagnosed with hyperthyroid. They put her on medication and say the blood tests are good. Yet, she is tired all the time and keeps gaining weight, she is almost 300 pounds! It is easy for doctors to say, "You are fat; exercise!" How do they expect a person to exercise when they have no energy?
Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Clearly your daughter is in need of medical intervention. I'm not sure what you mean by her "thyroid would swing" since there is no such medical entity. I believe you mean her hormone values fluctuate, which no doubt is related to her thyroid supplementation. Her thyroid repletion is easily monitored by her (highly sensitive) TSH reading.
Often other endocrine disorders can coexist with each other and I recommend she see an endocrinologist for proper testing to exclude Cushing syndrome (an excess production of cortisone) as well as other conditions associated with morbid obesity which often require specific testing to detect.
You are right to say that obesity drains your energy to say the least. It really does. Even a 20 pound weight loss provides significant well being to many victims of obesity. Remember though that this has taken a long time to manifest as 300 pounds, and she has undoubtedly other problems she needs to have addressed, so stop the pitty session and get her obesity treatment program started now. She needs this regardless of whether she has co-existing endocrine (glandular) disease or not.
Depression almost always will play a role in cases such as this, so be sure to explore this treatment option with your consultants also. Failure of conservative measures should lead to consideration for bariatric (weight loss) surgery. Desirable weight loss will average 2-3 pounds per week. Avoid starvation diets. Five small meals per day are far better for weight loss than two larger meals daily.
Sensible meal planning and appropriate adjusted exercise to convert fat into muscle is essential. Remember, our body will not produce an abundance of fat unless our caloric intake is excessive regardless of whether we are hypothyroid or not. A visit or more to a professional dietician would be time and money well invested.
The AMA is a voluntary organization that is a recognized physician and consumer advocate. Not all medical doctors belong to the AMA. Medical disease recommendations are usually provided by component subspecialty societies often not associated with the AMA at all.
It appears that you are upset with her doctors and the communication line has been broken. I suggest you seek some medical professional advice for your daughter without delay. Call your doctor and request they refer you to a consultant medical doctor for a second opinion, and let me know the results.

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