Inside Oprah's Rollercoaster Health Journey

Oprah Winfrey's journey to success is a testament to resilience and determination. Rising from humble beginnings, including a tragic childhood filled with abuse and poverty, Winfrey has become a trailblazing figure in the media industry. The media mogul has long used her platform to advocate for the well-being of others and herself because, behind the scenes, Winfrey has faced several health struggles.

One of these hurdles Winfrey overcame was her double knee surgery. She underwent the first in August 2021 and the second in November of that year. During her October 2022 "The Life You Want" class, she explained how the experience changed her outlook on her health. "As I was rehabilitating, I started hiking. Every day, I tried to hike more and do more. My appreciation for every organ and every limb has expanded exponentially," she explained [via People]. 

While the operations may have been a success, the actor has faced other challenges with her health. Luckily, Winfrey has not allowed any of them to keep her down.

Thyroid issues led to multiple hurdles for Winfrey

In October 2007, Oprah Winfrey revealed that thyroid issues were the reason behind her weight gain, which has been well documented throughout the years. During that month's edition of O Magazine, "The Butler" actor explained [via Today], "My body was turning on me—first hyperthyroidism, which sped up my metabolism and left me unable to sleep for days. Most people lose weight. I didn't." The media mogul went on to add, "Then hypothyroidism, which slowed down my metabolism and made me want to sleep all the time. Most people gain weight. I did! Twenty pounds!" While she eventually learned what was happening with her weight, Winfrey would reveal years later that she was initially misdiagnosed.

During a very transparent talk with the Los Angeles Times about her health, Winfrey revealed that doctors told her she had a heart condition. In actuality, Winfrey's thyroid problems were at the root of her racing heartbeat. Unfortunately, she consulted with five physicians, who only prescribed Winfrey pills without acknowledging her thyroid disorder. "Nobody ever checked my blood until I went to the Cleveland Clinic, and they realized it wasn't a heart problem. It was a thyroid problem that was causing the heart palpitations," she explained to the outlet. Thankfully, Winfrey revealed years ago during a January 2009 episode of her talk show that her thyroid issues had become much better managed.

Winfrey is now on weight loss medication

After years of her weight being heavily discussed, Oprah Winfrey revealed to People in December 2023 that she had begun taking weight loss medications in addition to her exercise routine. When explaining her decision to use prescription drugs, Winfrey pointed to the intense chatter surrounding her body. "It was public sport to make fun of me for 25 years. I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself," she shared. "I now use it as I feel I need it, as a tool to manage not yo-yoing." In September 2023, "The Life You Want Class," she also admitted that she toiled over the decision to take the commonly used weight loss injection, Ozempic, but has not revealed if that is the medication she went with.

Winfrey is not only depending on her doctors to keep the pounds away. She has made several diet adjustments, such as consuming more fruits and veggies. Now weighing a little over 160 pounds, Winfrey is more confident than ever as she approaches her 70th birthday, also stating to People, "It was a second shot for me to live a more vital and vibrant life."