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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Weight gain and fatigue
Posted by: Marian
Date: April 13, 2002 5:39 AM

I am a 31 year old woman. I lost half my head hair and all over my body four years ago after my first pregnancy. I had alopecia areata when I was 14 and recovered my hair in one year. Now I am pregnant again. I feel everyday more fatigued and like I am going to collapse. I am constantly gaining weight with not much reason. My body always had the tendency to gain weight easily and I needed to starve myself and exercise like crazy to keep weight under control. I always had black circles around my eyes. I have never smoked, taken drugs or abused alcohol. No doctor can tell me anything about my state. I read about Addison's disease but doctors tell me my hormone levels are OK. What can I do?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at February 11, 2009 5:14 AM by Dr. Kennedy.

RE: Weight gain and fatigue
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: April 13, 2002 1:46 PM

To say the least you present a very complicated situation. I take it the weight gain and fatigue are the important items, so I will focus there. Weight is determined by rate of calories taken in and rate of calories burned. The later is called metabolic rate and can be slowed by a variety of factors, some of which are: heavy metal toxicity, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenalism, genetics, life style (emotional life and psychological factors, diet, exercise), and digestive disorders. Fatigue reflects the failure to produce sufficient energy at the cellular level and goes hand in hand with hypometabolism. Causes can include digestive disorder, stress, insufficient sleep, unbalanced nutrition lacking in some of the vitamins and minerals necessary for energy production, and hormonal imbalances and insufficiencies. Perhaps you begin to see how complex the situation can be. Probably you have not been evaluated by a competent doctor and that may be where you need to focus: learning to judge competence in prospective physicians. All docs are not the same and the sad fact is medical school does not well prepare people to serve as doctors beyond immediate life saving measures as the system is distorted by a strong bias toward drugs and surgery - both of which have their place of course, but not to the virtual exclusion of all other approaches. Most real medical education happens in practice and there the pros are separated from the amateurs. Speak by phone to any prospective doc. Explain your situation and do not make an appointment unless you are impressed with the person's response.

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