Medical Causes of Obesity

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on January 06, 2023

Obesityis considered a chronic and progressive medical condition. It is usually a result of multiple factors that come into play and result in the development of the condition. 

There are several medical conditions that can lead to excess weight including: 

  • Hypothyroidism. This is a condition where the thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces too little thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone regulates our metabolism. So too little hormone slows the metabolism and often causes weight gain. If your doctor suspects thyroid disease, they may perform blood tests to check your hormone levels.
  • Cushing's syndrome. This condition results when the adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney) produce an excess amount of a steroid hormone called cortisol. Among other things, it leads to a build-up of fat in characteristic sites such as the face, upper back, and abdomen.

There are also certain inherited conditions and other diseases of the brain that can cause excess weight gain.

Certain medications, notably steroids, and also some antidepressants, antipsychotics, high blood pressure drugs, and seizure medications can also cause increased body weight or hinder weight loss.

A visit with your health care team can help determine if any of these conditions or medications are contributing to excess weight.