Obesity is a complex disease that is impacting an increasing number of people every day. It is more than just a body image issue; it is a medical problem that, if left untreated, can lead to major ailments.
Some people are genetically predisposed to this illness, but for others, years of poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle can cause this extreme weight gain.
What exactly is obesity?
Obesity is not synonymous with being overweight. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher. Obesity puts a person at a higher risk of developing major diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Obesity is tough to cure since it necessitates a change in lifestyle. Obese people frequently lose weight only to get it back again a few years later. Weight loss is achievable for obese people with the correct combination of therapy, and some have been successful in dropping weight and keeping it off.
Obesity: What Are the Causes and Symptoms?
Obesity is a disease that is strongly linked to food intake and exercise, but it can also be caused by specific medical disorders. Here are some of the leading causes of obesity:
1. Dietary Guidelines
Consuming high energy density meals such as breads, pastas, pastries, and fast food items on a regular and long-term basis can lead to obesity.
Not eating healthy meals like fiber-rich fruits, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables can not only upset the digestive system but also lead to weight gain.
2. Medical problems
Weight gain can be caused by a variety of medical issues. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing syndrome, hypothyroidism, and osteoarthritis are examples of these disorders.
3. Emotional Consumption
Overeating in response to unpleasant emotions such as stress, boredom, anger, or irritation is known as emotional eating. Around 30% of overweight adults report binge eating problems.
Around 400 genes have been linked to being overweight or obesity. These genes have the potential to influence aspects such as appetite, metabolism, food cravings, satiety, emotional eating, and body fat distribution.
Genetic effect varies from person to person and can range from as little as a 25% influence to as much as an 80% influence.
5. Eating Frequency
The frequency with which you eat can have an effect on your weight growth. Overweight folks eat less frequently than normal-weight people.
According to studies, those who eat four or five modest meals per day have lower cholesterol levels and more stable blood sugar levels than those who consume only two to three meals each day.
6. Sleeping Patterns
Sleep deprivation can produce hormonal changes in the body, affecting hunger and appetite. Sleep deprivation for an extended length of time can have major consequences for your metabolism and set you up for weight gain.
How can you tell if you’re obese?
Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Sleep apnea or snoring
- Incapable of engaging in physical activities
- Sweating excessively
- Exhaustion or tiredness on a day to day basis
- Pain in the back and joints
- Unbalanced hormones (irregular periods, mood swings,etc)
- Problems with the skin and hair
- Insecurities and poor self-esteem
- Feeling lonely or isolated
How Is Obesity Detected?
Obesity can be diagnosed in a variety of ways by your doctor. Here are some of the most popular diagnostic tests and examinations that might help a person discover this condition:
1. Physical Examine
Your doctor can determine whether you are overweight or obese by performing a physical examination (checking heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, as well as inspecting your heart, lungs, and abdomen).
2. BMI Calculation
The Body Mass Index is the most important indicator of obesity. Obesity is certain if your BMI is 30 or higher. Although BMI is one of the most often used methods of measuring obesity, it is not always accurate.
Because BMI cannot distinguish between bone mass, muscular mass, and body fat, determining whether excess fat is an issue is challenging.
3. Taking Waist Circumference Measurements
Visceral fat around the waist can be measured to determine the health risks associated with obesity and being overweight. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches for a woman and 40 inches for a man is deemed abnormal and should be treated as a risk factor.
4. Blood Examinations
Certain blood tests can be performed to check cholesterol levels, liver function, fasting glucose levels, and thyroid function. The results of these tests can help determine obesity.
Obesity, unfortunately, can pose a number of health problems to an individual. Among these dangers are:
1. Diabetes Type 2
Lowering blood sugar levels necessitates the use of insulin. When your cells are unable to respond to insulin, you get type 2 diabetes.
Too much glucose and sugar accumulate in the bloodstream of people with type 2 diabetes. This can lead to health problems and possibly impair the body’s capacity to manufacture insulin.
2. Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiac disease is a broad phrase that encompasses a wide range of heart problems.
Other conditions include arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cardiomyopathy (hardening or weakening of the heart muscles), congenital heart defects (heart irregularities from birth), coronary artery disease (caused by plaque build-up in the heart’s arteries), and heart infection (infection caused by bacteria or parasites).
3. Excessive Blood Pressure
Hypertension is another name for it. When blood pressure climbs too high, this is referred to as having high blood pressure.
Extra weight raises the heart rate and reduces the body’s ability to carry blood through the capillaries, while increased pressure on the artery walls raises blood pressure. It can be a sign of a heart attack or stroke.
4. Specific Cancers
Obesity can put a person at risk for some malignancies. Meningioma (cancer of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord), Thyroid, Liver, Gallbladder, Upper Stomach, Pancreas, Ovary, and Kidney are among these types.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer, which should be examined if the individual is considered obese.
5. Obesity of the Liver
Hepatic steatosis is another name for this condition. Fatty liver disease develops as fat accumulates in the liver over time. Too much fat in the liver can induce inflammation, which can lead to scarring (liver fibrosis) and, eventually, liver failure.
6. Apnea (sleep deprivation)
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing periodically stops during the night. Those suffering from sleep apnea may feel exhausted all day and wonder why. Sleep apnea, if left untreated, can lead to health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, and other dangerous ailments.
How is Obesity Treated?
Obesity is a challenging problem, and managing it is much more so. Although not impossible to treat, various treatments need often be used at the same time to maximise results.
There are several approaches to managing obesity. According to medical authorities, the following are the most effective methods:
1. Dietary Changes
Food consumption is one of the initial forms of treatment. Eating less calories (500-1000 per day) may aid in weight loss. Eating foods that are low in fat and calories while being high in nutrients has the potential to restore your body’s proper balance.
However, it is uncommon for an obese person to be successful with this treatment alone. It is common for weight to be recovered around 2 years after starting a low-calorie diet.
Exercise can help you lose weight if you incorporate it into your regular routine.
Daily physical exercise, combined with appropriate dietary changes, can even enhance your metabolism and assist your body in more readily regulating weight.
Taking the stairs at work, or walking while talking on the phone, can make a tremendous difference.
What are the different kinds of weight loss surgery?
Weight loss surgery is often known as bariatric surgery.
This type of surgery works by restricting the amount of food you can eat comfortably or by blocking your body from absorbing food and calories. It can sometimes do both.
Weight loss surgery does not provide a quick fix. It is a big surgery with substantial hazards. People who have surgery will need to adjust how and how much they eat afterward, or they risk becoming ill.
Nonsurgical methods, on the other hand, aren’t always helpful in helping persons with obesity lose weight and lower their risk of comorbidities.
Weight loss surgery comes in a variety of forms, including:
Gastric bypass surgery is performed. Your surgeon will build a tiny pouch at the top of your stomach that will connect directly to your small intestine during this procedure. Food and liquids flow through the pouch and into the intestine, skipping the majority of the stomach. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) is another name for it.
Gastric banding laparoscopically adjustable (LAGB). Using a band, LAGB divides your stomach into two compartments.
Gastric sleeve surgery This treatment involves the removal of a portion of your stomach.
Duodenal switch biliopancreatic diversion The majority of your stomach is removed during this treatment.
Adult candidates for weight loss surgery should have a BMI of at least 35.0, according to specialists for decades (classes 2 and 3).
However, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) supported weight loss surgery in 2018 guidelines for persons with BMIs of 30.0 to 35.0 (class 1) who:
- have linked comorbidities, particularly type 2 diabetes, and have not experienced long-term effects from nonsurgical therapy such as dietary and lifestyle changes
- Surgery is most effective for people between the ages of 18 and 65 who have class 1 obesity.
People are frequently required to lose weight before getting surgery. In addition, they’ll usually go through therapy to ensure that they’re both emotionally ready for the surgery and ready to make the required lifestyle changes.
Only a few surgical centres in the United States do such treatments on children under the age of 18.
At the end of the day, the greatest method to prevent obesity is to eat a nutritious diet and get enough exercise. Here are a few techniques to avoid this condition:
1. Consume More “Good” Fat
Avoiding weight gain does not imply avoiding fat entirely. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and almonds, on the other hand, can actually lower cholesterol and the risk of obesity.
2. Consume Low Glycemic Index Foods
Consuming low-glycemic meals that do not produce blood sugar spikes, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, will help manage your blood sugar levels and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
3. Engage in regular exercise
Maintaining a healthy body weight requires 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous exercise per week. A weight training regimen, in addition to aerobic activity, will develop your muscles and prime your metabolism for healthy weight loss.
4. Decrease Stress
Stress can lead to the development of bad eating habits such as emotional eating and eating at inconvenient times. Instead of going for a hamburger when you’re upset, consider stress-reduction activities like deep breathing, yoga, or socialising.
Obesity differs from being overweight in that it increases the chance of developing ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease.
Obesity can be caused by a number of variables, such as genetics, nutrition, physical activity, medications, and pre-existing medical disorders. Obesity symptoms can include shortness of breath, increased perspiration, and a lack of confidence.
Obesity can be defeated by changing one’s lifestyle, which includes eating a balanced food, exercising regularly, drinking lots of water, and getting adequate sleep.
Obesity can be avoided by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Avoiding foods high in sugar, fat, and extra calories and eating foods high in “healthy” fats, fibre, and nutrients can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of obesity.