There are a lot of people in the United States that aren’t satisfied with their weight. Most of the time, this has to do with being overweight and wanting to shed pounds. For many seniors, weight gain can be a natural part of aging. You can also be slightly overweight without it being an immediate health concern. On the flipside, you can be underweight to the extent that it’s a medical emergency. A healthy weight is a balancing act, especially for seniors. If you’re over or underweight, you should start making changes to your diet and lifestyle to fix this. Sometimes, though, you may want to seek medical or professional help. If you fall into one of these categories, it may be time to look into getting that help.

Signs to Get Help When You’re Overweight

If you’re weight has begun to become a hinderance on your life, that’s a pretty clear sign that you should seek help. Another clear sign is if your doctor suggests it during a checkup. But, if you haven’t seen your doctor in a while, you’ve gained a significant amount of weight since you’ve seen your doctor, or don’t feel it’s decreased your quality of living, there are a few signs that you should watch for.

You’ve Tried Everything

This option is potentially less severe than the others we’ll share, but if you feel that you’ve tried everything on your own, from dieting to exercise, and you still aren’t getting results, it may be worth speaking to a professional. Unlike our other suggestions, there are many ways you can look for this help. It’s worth checking with your doctor, as there may be an underlying medical condition that’s causing you to not lose weight. In other cases, getting a personal trainer or dietician may help guide you to your weight loss goals. If you follow the suggestions of all three and there isn’t an underlying medical condition, they should help you push through most weight loss barriers.

BMI is Over 30

We’ve criticized the BMI scale previously as an inaccurate measurement of a healthy weight. In the case of being overweight, the impreciseness of the scale isn’t as important, since it’s just giving you a general idea. If you’re over 30 on the BMI scale, you’re falling into the Obesity Class 1 range. If you’re obese, you run the risk of numerous health conditions, from higher risk of cardiovascular disease to Type 2 diabetes to stroke. Before making major changes based on BMI alone, please talk to your doctor, because of the inaccuracies inherent in the scale’s equation. That said, if you’re well above 30 on the BMI scale, you likely do fall into the obese classification.

You Have Sudden, Extreme Weight Gain

One of the worrisome signs that your weight is an issue is if you’re experiencing sudden, but extreme weight gain. While this may be due to fairly common reasons like a medication you’re taking, menopause, or lack of sleep, others need to be taken seriously. Stress and anxiety are strongly linked with sudden weight gain, but the conditions can be even more severe. These underlying conditions can range from cirrhosis to tumors and ovarian cancer, all which should be considered with the utmost concern.

Signs to Get Help When You’re Underweight

While being underweight may not be as obvious or as frequently talked about as obesity, it’s still a concern. Much like being overweight, if you’re visiting your doctor and they mention that you may be underweight, it could be time to seek help. With that said, unless you’re severely underweight, it may not get mentioned. However, there are signs that may indicate you should get professional help.

You Have an Eating Disorder

This one is less of a sign you may need help and more of a reason to get help. Unfortunately, seniors have become one of the most underdiscussed populations with eating disorders. If you have an eating disorder or show the signs of an eating disorder and it’s leading to significant weight loss, getting help to treat the underlying reasons is essential. In this case, being underweight, while a concern, isn’t the biggest issue that needs to be solved.

Your BMI is Under 18.5

Similar to a BMI over 30, a BMI under 18.5 is cause for concern since it falls into the Underweight category. Physical signs, like seeing your rib cage underneath your skin, can also point to an underweight issue. Being underweight can lead to anemia and lethargy, osteoporosis, and a weakened immune system, among other concerns. While being a little underweight may not be a cause for concern, check with your doctor before making major changes to your lifestyle and diet.

Sudden, Extreme Weight Loss

One of the most worrisome entries in this article — sudden weight loss — is rarely a good sign. While weight loss tied to efforts to do so, may not be cause for concern, unintentional or extreme weight loss is often a symptom of an underlying condition. The list of these weight-loss-causing conditions is long and can range from cancer to dementia to depression. In some cases, it may be tied to medications you’re taking, too. If you find yourself with extreme, unintentional weight loss, see your doctor right away.

How to Get Help

If you fit any of these criteria, it’s not necessarily time to hit the panic button, but you should begin to think about getting professional help. Your first stop should be with your doctor. Not only can they help you determine if there’s an underlying medical condition causing your issues, they’ll likely be able to guide you through your treatment options. After speaking to your doctor, seeing a dietician or personal trainer can help as well.

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Achieving a healthy weight is something most of us strive for, and for good reason. But, that healthy weight is different depending on a number of factors and is more of a range than a singular number on a scale. If you fall outside of that range to the point that it becomes a health concern, finding professional help may become necessary. There’s no shame in needing help sometimes, and through the aid of experts, you can attain a healthy weight at a healthy pace, while gaining the tools to maintain it in the future!