MEDICAL CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH OBESITY AND HOW TO TREAT THEM
Obesity is not a matter that anyone should take lightly. Aside from the discouraging feeling of not fitting in your old clothes, being obese affects more than your physical appearance. It does not just run skin deep. Your unhealthy lifestyle choices can lead you to gain weight, which then makes you more susceptible to various medical conditions. Obesity or being overweight is a common factor in developing several chronic illnesses.
As a result, many people are becoming more conscious about losing weight. Subsequently, there are a lot of weight loss solutions becoming available in the market. For many, losing weight is not just about making them feel good on the outside. They embark on a weight loss journey to avoid deteriorating their body and putting their health at risk.
With that said, you need to have a smart and informed approach to losing weight. Before embarking on any weight loss journey, make sure you know which weight bracket you belong to. How do you know that you are obese? A helpful way of doing so is calculating your Body Mass Index or BMI.
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
Body Mass Index, or more commonly referred to as BMI, is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. When computing your BMI, here is the formula you need to follow: weight (kg) / [height (m)]2.
The Body Mass Index is an inexpensive and easy screening method to know which weight category you belong to. After computing your weight and height, you can determine whether you are underweight, have a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
For adults who are 20 years old and older, BMI is interpreted using the standard weight status category. The said categories are usually the same among men and women of all body types and ages. The ideal BMI for this age group should be in the 18.5 to 24.9 range. To be more specific, here is the breakdown of the BMI according to the different weight categories:
- A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight.
- A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a normal or healthy weight.
- A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight.
- A BMI of more than 30.0 is considered obese.
With that said, your BMI alone should be the basis when it comes to choosing a weight loss solution. Calculating your Body Mass Index has some limitations.
BMI takes into consideration typical variations in body shape by giving a healthy weight range according to your height. However, it does not take into account factors such as your waist or hip measurements, proportion or distribution of fat, and proportion of muscle mass. In other words, while BMI is considered a screening tool, it does not diagnose the body fatness or health of a person. The correlation between your BMI and body fatness is fairly strong. However, to some extent, it is still a case-to-case basis. Even if two people have the same BMI, they may have different levels of body fat. There are several other factors to take into consideration before you are categorized as obese.
Age, sex, and race are often factors to consider in diagnosing obesity. Adult women tend to have more body fat than adult men. At the same time, BMI is read differently for adults and young people, as we usually gain more body fat as we grow older. Calculating the BMI for ages 2 to 18 uses the same formula as adults, but it’s more specific to their age and sex due to the body changes they undergo during this period.
Furthermore, your ethnicity can affect your risk of developing chronic illnesses. Asians tend to gain more body fat compared to Caucasians and Black people. For adults of Asian descent, you are more prone to medical conditions if you have a BMI over 25.
With that said, a high BMI, though rare, doesn’t always mean a bad thing. Athletes who have a high BMI are not automatically considered overweight or obese, as it’s due to their increased muscle mass rather than excess body fat. Muscle is much denser than fat, thus active people tend to weigh more. In this case, they are still at a healthy weight even if their BMI classifies them as obese. Still, consulting with a professional healthcare provider can confirm if you are still on a healthy track.
Lastly, for pregnant women who are asked to lose weight, BMI is not a reliable basis because of the changes in your body. Work closely with your doctor to create a tailored weight loss plan that won’t put your and your child’s health in jeopardy.
Regardless, your Body Mass Index is still a great early indicator of whether you are overweight or obese. Healthcare professionals still recognize the validity of BMI when it comes to its correlation with body fat. For a more accurate description of your health and weight, healthcare professionals perform further assessments. It may include skinfold thickness measurements and evaluations of diet, physical activity, and family history.
Medical Conditions Caused by Obesity
Why is it important to stay up-to-date with your Body Mass Index? As mentioned earlier, it is no longer just about vanity. Being and staying in the overweight or obese bracket makes you susceptible to various detrimental medical conditions. As the classic saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”.
Once you figure out that you are considered overweight or obese, it is vital to act on it immediately. It also helps to know the consequences of refusing to lose weight on your health. Here are some of the medical conditions associated with obesity.
One of the most common medical conditions associated with weight gain is heart and cardiovascular diseases. People who are considered obese are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. A higher volume of body fat has a negative impact when it comes to developing heart illness. It contributes to raising your blood pressure, spiking blood sugar levels, increasing the presence of fat in the fat. At the same time, it lowers the presence of good cholesterol in the body. Altogether, it is known as metabolic syndrome. As a result, it creates a huge risk of heart diseases and Type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, a high Body Mass Index may be an early indicator of possible health risks. Again, BMI alone is not enough to diagnose the risk of heart diseases. The distribution of fat in your body also tells if you are likely to develop chronic illness later on. Studies show that people who have a relatively larger waist in relation to their hip size have more than double the risk of developing heart diseases. The risk nearly doubles if several other risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and BMI are taken into account.
Type 2 Diabetes
Another medical condition commonly brought by excessive body fat is Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes commonly occurs when your blood sugar is higher than it should be. A high presence of body fat results in resistance towards insulin, which is the hormone responsible for regulating sugar in the bloodstream. As you are unable to process sugar, you are more likely to develop the condition.
Sadly, Type 2 Diabetes can make your health deteriorate even further. Over time, when not prevented, the condition can lead to other health issues such as heart disease, nerve damage, stroke, kidney disease, and vision problems.
For people diagnosed with obesity, losing around five to seven percent of their body weight may prevent or delay the onset development of Type 2 Diabetes. To further lower the risk, the simple formula of eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, getting regular, moderate exercise may help. If you are already diagnosed with the condition, becoming more active will help you control your blood sugar levels. It also reduces your need to rely on prescriptive diabetes medication.
Obesity is one of the risk factors of developing various types of cancer, specifically breast cancer and colorectal cancer. According to studies, the fat protein present in your body may end up developing into cancerous cells. At the same time, excessive body fat can also cause the development of non-cancerous cells, which then advances the formation of tumors.
For most women, several studies show that developing breast cancer is linked to excessive weight gain. Premenopausal women with abdominal obesity, or having a larger waist size in proportion to their height, are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Initially, having a large waist is an early indicator of cancer risks among postmenopausal women, though BMI is usually taken into account for further diagnosis.
Furthermore, people with a high level of body fat have three times the risk of developing colorectal cancer. The fat in your body increases the presence of adenomatous polyps, small clumps of cells that form on the lining of the colon. The said polyps are usually noncancerous and cause no symptoms. However, it is associated with insulin resistance. With persistent weight gain, it increases the risk of developing cancer.
Besides breast and colorectal cancer, there are other variants of cancer associated with obesity. It includes cancer of the gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, prostate, uterus, cervix, endometrium, and ovaries.
It is common for people who are gaining excessive weight to experience difficulty in breathing. Obesity can lead to developing medical conditions deteriorating the respiratory system, including asthma. The presence of excessive body fat results in inflammation throughout the body, especially the airways, which increases the risk of respiratory compromises.
Generally, people who are overweight or obese experience this problem. However, a high BMI is not the only factor that contributes to this problem. Some studies show that higher levels of unhealthy body fat and waist circumference of more than 35 inches are 37% more likely to develop asthma, despite having a weight that is considered normal. The risk of respiratory problems is the same for both people with large waists and those who are overweight or obese. Attempting to lose weight can help clear out your airways, making something as simple as breathing easy for you.
Aside from your appearance and physical health, obesity can also affect how much of your memory you can remember. Dementia is a state of memory loss that can disrupt your day-to-day activities. People who have a BMI within the overweight or obese bracket are more likely to develop dementia later on. With that said, experts say that the proportion and placement of the fat in the body should also be taken into consideration. Commonly, the greater the amount of belly fat, the greater the possibility of the brain shrinking, which can then lead to dementia.
Studies state that people in their early 40s that maintain their status of obesity are nearly three times more likely to develop dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease by their mid-70s to early 80s. Living a healthier lifestyle as early as now saves you from the suffering of experiencing a loss of memory later on.
Those are only some of the medical conditions associated with obesity. More health risks come with persistent weight gain. Some of these include stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and sleep apnea. Aside from physical conditions, obesity can also affect your mental health, increasing the risk of clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Weight Loss Solutions for Obesity
Now that you are more aware of the health repercussions of being obese, you are likely to be more conscious about gaining weight. First, check your BMI and consult a professional for any onset signs of being overweight or obese.
If you are diagnosed with obesity, it is not a lost cause. As mentioned earlier, there are many weight loss solutions available out there. However, take note that not everything will work for you. Everyone has specific needs when trying to lose weight. So, a method that works for one person may not work for you. Seeking the help of a credited healthcare provider can help figure out what steps to take to shed off your excess weight.
Still, it helps to know what options you have. This way you can have a clear dialogue about the pros and cons of these methods according to your needs. Here are some of the common weight loss solutions for obesity:
Swallowable Weight Loss Balloon
One of the most viable options for losing weight is through the help of weight loss balloons. As the name suggests, weight loss balloons include placing an inflated balloon in your stomach through the mouth. The deflated balloon is then filled with water, usually until it is the size of a grapefruit. As the balloon takes up space, it makes you full, allowing you to only consume a small portion of food. Also, it contains the food you eat in the stomach longer, making you less inclined to eat food longer.
Weight loss balloons have been widely available for those looking to shed off some kilograms. However, most weight loss balloons in the market require anaesthesia and endoscopy. For its procedure, a flexible tube passes through the throat, to place the deflated balloon in the stomach. As a result, many are hesitating about going for this option. With that said, there are the latest innovations that make the process easy and worry-free for you. There is a new weight loss balloon out there that is making a name as the first and only swallowable weight loss balloon in Singapore.
Unlike other weight loss balloons, this swallowable weight loss balloon requires no surgery, endoscopy, or anaesthesia. The deflated balloon comes in a form of a capsule with a thin catheter attached. The capsule form allows it to be ingested with a glass of water. Your doctor will then perform an X-ray to assure the capsule has been placed properly in the stomach. The capsule dissolves, revealing the deflate weight loss balloon. It is then filled with 550ml of purified water, or until it is the size of a grapefruit. Another X-ray is done, this time, to make sure the balloon is properly filled. The whole process only takes 20 minutes.
The balloon lasts in the stomach for 4 months. After that period, a time-activated release valve opens and allows the balloon to deflate. The remnants of the balloon are naturally excreted out of your body through your bowel movement. People who use the swallowable weight loss balloon typically don’t notice the balloon passing. Clinical studies also show that patients lose an average of 10-15%** of their body weight using this swallowable weight loss balloon within the 4 months.
However, it is important to remember that weight loss balloons like this are temporary. You may opt to have another balloon placed, as per your doctor’s approval. Regardless, it still requires you to create changes in your lifestyle to maintain your good results. Unless you make an effort to keep the weight off, you will find yourself gaining the weight you lose.
DeFATO Hub can help you in doing so. DeFATO Hub is not a diet or a workout, instead, it is a combination weight loss program with a holistic approach, tailor-fitted to each individual. It starts to help you lose weight with the swallowable weight loss balloon, following the procedure mentioned earlier. It then sets you up with a lifestyle program that helps you keep your ideal weight beyond 4 months. Here, you will work with a team of professionals including medical specialists, lifestyle coaches, fitness trainers, nutritionists, and physiotherapists. They will help you determine a diet, exercise regimen, and overall lifestyle approach that specifically meets your weight loss needs.
Furthermore, you are registered to the smart scale and app, where you and your professional team can monitor your progress.
Diet and Exercise
There are a lot of new and innovative weight loss solutions out there. If you are not into the idea of something new, you can still go with the usual way of revamping your lifestyle to a healthier one. The formula of diet and exercise still works for some people.
In terms of diet, eating a variety of colorful and nutrition-dense food will give you all the necessary nutrients you need. To be specific, every meal should include 50% fruit and vegetables, 25% whole grains, and 25% protein. Remember that you need a balanced diet. You need to make sure you have enough nutrients and energy you need, while not consuming excess calories.
With that said, eating too much healthy food is counterproductive. It is not just about what you eat but how much you eat. Control your portions and have smaller meals than you did before. An easy way to do so is by using smaller plates and serving dishes. Smaller cutleries trick you into thinking you’re eating a lot even if, in reality, it’s less than usual. Moreover, take your time when eating. The slower you eat, the more time you’re giving your body to digest food.
Diet alone is not a sufficient way to shed off a few kilograms. Combining healthy eating habits with a more active lifestyle helps you lose weight. However, do not strain yourself by diving into physically demanding exercises immediately. If you are just beginning to become more active, start with light exercises like brisk walking for an hour a day. Once your body is used to it, you can gradually move on to more intense activities like cardio to improve your metabolism and resistance exercises if you wish to gain more defined muscles.
Remember, this method is not effective for everyone, no matter how hard you work in changing your lifestyle. Some people still have a hard time losing weight despite eating less and being more active. It’s also possible that you have plateaued. You may be seeing good results early on, but then your body slows down in losing excess weight and eventually stops. That’s why you need to change your exercise regimen regularly. If the traditional methods don’t work for you, it may be a good time to look into alternative weight loss solutions.
Invasive Weight-Loss Surgery
Another alternative weight loss solution you can opt for is invasive weight-loss surgeries. Usually, these types of surgeries are either restrictive or malabsorptive. Restrictive surgeries shrink down the size of your stomach helping you eat less food. On the other hand, malabsorptive surgeries make your stomach smaller and remove a part of your digestive tract, making it harder for your body to absorb calories.
Some of the common weight-loss surgeries include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric banding, and biliopancreatic diversion. These surgeries are suggested for more severe cases of obesity. If you’re within the overweight bracket or your BMI still plays 30, having surgery maybe too much. The procedures are invasive, making their results non-reversible. Also, invasive surgery opens you up to the risk of health complications.
Trying to lose weight is a complicated thing to embark on. However, the fear of obesity and the medical conditions associated with it should be enough motivation for you to maintain an ideal weight. There are options out there that make it easier for you to shed off excess weight. Regardless, remember to pursue a holistic approach to make you achieve great results for the long term. Be informed and create smart choices.
**Results may vary from one patient to another. A small percentage of patients don’t respond to the treatment.