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Side Effects of Rapid Weight Gain

By Rose Erickson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Rapid weight gain can occur for a variety of reasons, including pregnancy, adolescence, excessive alcohol use, overeating, lack of exercise, and medical disorders such as hypothyroidism and Cushing's syndrome. Rapid weight gain can do more than just damage your self-esteem, it can also lead to serious health complications—making it is extremely important to understand the dangers it poses.

High Blood Pressure

According to the Mayo Clinic website, rapid weight gain can cause high blood pressure. Although this condition is not always accompanied by symptoms, some can include dizziness, nosebleeds or headaches. High blood pressure develops as the result of the heart working harder to pump blood through your body. The more weight you gain, the more blood that is required to sustain your body. This increase of blood puts pressure on the walls of the arteries, putting you at risk for other serious health conditions, such as stroke and heart attack.

Sleep Apnea

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute notes that weight gain can be responsible for a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. This condition causes pauses in your breathing during sleep—sometimes for minutes at a time. These pauses can occur up to 30 times in a single hour.

Sleep apnea occurs when extra fat tissue thickens the windpipe walls, causing the opening to narrow and making it harder for it to stay open. Besides making you more tired during the day, sleep apnea can lead to other serious conditions, such as heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and an increase in the risk of diabetes and stroke.

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Stretch Marks

Rapid weight gain can often lead to stretch marks, which are red or purplish streaks or indentions in the skin. These marks can appear as the result of the skin stretching to accommodate weight gain, causing tiny tears and changes in the elastic-like supportive tissue beneath the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body, including the buttocks, abdomen, upper arms, thighs and breasts. Stretch marks often occur during growth spurts associated with adolescents and weight gain during pregnancy.

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