For most people, it is natural to adapt to new prescription drugs as they age to battle age-related illnesses, injuries and deficiencies. And for some people, aging also means gaining weight due to changing habits, less-active lifestyles and natural bodily aging. But recently, medical researchers have determined that there may be a connection between the prescription drugs some people take and the weight gained while taking them.
The Heavy Truth
The amount of weight a person can gain while taking prescription drugs may vary from 10 pounds to 100 pounds and more. For some, the weight gained isn’t enough to even call attention to it, and may even improve the health of someone who is severely underweight. But for others, severe weight gain can be an incredibly dangerous state, especially for those taking prescription drugs.
Extreme weight gain can bring on many health issues including physical stress, pre-hypertension and hypertension, and can even cause heart attacks and stroke. When these issues are combined with prescription drugs, they can be worse or occur more often. Weight gain can also have an effect on mood and because certain prescription drugs already have mood-affecting attributes, depression can easily set in, causing even more weight-gaining factors such as over-eating and lack of exercise.
What Causes the Additional Weight?
Certain prescription drugs can alter a person’s metabolism, making it harder for the body to break down foods quickly, while some drugs increase appetite or appetite for specific kinds of foods (usually fatty). A person doesn’t realize the change because it isn’t drastic enough to call attention to it. When the appetite grows, the need to feed it grows, too. This is the simplest and quickest way prescription drugs affect weight.
Many kinds of prescription drugs are used to thin the blood and increase circulation, but they can cause shortness of breath or fatigue very easily, preventing people from getting the exercise they need to stay healthy and fit. Certain elements in specific drugs prevent the body from breaking down and absorbing blood glucose, which then gets stored as fat deposits, causing weight gain. Some of these drugs have also been known to cause excessive water weight in people, aiding in extreme weight gain. Many of these drugs consist of hormone replacement drugs, oral contraceptives that contain high amounts of estrogen, antidepressants and certain diabetic medications.
For some people, it is the reverse or positive effect of their prescription drugs that is making them gain weight. For example, if a person is taking antidepressants and begins to feel better, she may start to feel her appetite come back and eat more.
Gaining weight is sometimes s natural part of growing old, but in certain cases, the amount of weight gained and the gradual effect it has on the body can be extremely detrimental to a person’s well-being. Although there are many factors that come into play when someone has gained weight, the use of certain prescription drugs may be a great cause. If you notice any unanticipated weight gain after beginning a prescription regimen, consult your doctor immediately.