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Obesity- one of the most prevalent of all health disorders around the globe and we all are familiar with the basics. Apart from the biggest concern of being overweight or “fat”, obesity leads to several other health issues of which heart disease if of prime concern.


What is obesity?

Obesity means accumulation of excessive fat in your body which is measured exclusive by your BMI (Body Mass Index). You start becoming overweight when your BMI goes to 25 or more and any value more than 30 is indication obesity. If BMI goes above 40 then you are super obese. This is the world-wide accepted standard for determining obesity.


Symptoms of obesity

As explained above, your BMI will tell you where you are obese or not. Apart from being fat, you might experience some health issues like lethargy, fatigue, tiredness, high cholesterol and blood pressure, eating disorders, impaired renal functions, poor digestion, etc.


Causes of obesity

  • Your genes play a major role in obesity as they contribute to your body’s ability to burn fat. It might run in your family. In that case, even kids are obese.
  • Physical inactivity, desk job, and sedentary lifestyle make you obese gradually because you do not burn the calories you consume.
  • Having everyday on calorie rich foods and large portions of fast foods, sugars, simple carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, sugary beverages, chocolates, etc.
  • Side effect of medicines like anti depressants, antipsychotic drugs, beta blockers, corticosteroids, hormonal pills, etc.
  • Side effect of health diseases like diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthritis, Cushing syndrome, etc.
  • Post effect of pregnancy due to inability to lose weight 
It’s important to note that obesity can happen at any age and to anyone. Sometimes it’s not only one contributing factor that’s leading to obesity rather a combination of lifestyle, diet, environment and family history.


Complications of obesity

Obesity if not managed can lead to: 

  • Stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Breast cancer in women and bowel cancer 
Apart from these, due to looking unusually fat people might suffer from low self esteem and depression.


Diagnosis of obesity

Your doctor will calculate your BMI and let you know if you are obese or not. Diagnosis involves thorough evaluation of family history, diet and lifestyle. You need to let your doctor know if you are taking any medicines or have a medical history.

Furthermore, your vital parameters like heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, etc. will be measured. You need to undergo blood tests that include lipid profile, blood sugar test, liver function test, hormone test and possibly ECG.

With all these tests, your doctor would be able to chalk out your treatment plan.


Treatment of obesity

Treatment of obesity is basically a weight management plan that could be achieved in the following ways: 

  • Burning calories via exercise and physical activity. Your goal should be to lose at least 10% of your body weight or more
  • Your doctor will give you a diet plan that you have to follow. It’s a holistic reformation of your eating and drinking habits
  • Counseling or biofeedback therapy or CBT might be offered to manage your emotional challenges.
  • Medicines might be given to cut down fat and improve metabolism. Other drugs might be prescribed depending upon the complications you are suffering from
  • For extremely obese people liposuction is recommended.


Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do regular exercise
  • Have healthy diet
  • Avoid high-fat diet
  • Maintain daily records of both fat and calorie intake as well as exercise habits
  • Develop coping skills for stress, which causes overeating


Advice from your physician

  • Primary goal is to reduce overall body weight and maintain the lower weight
  • Involves a combination of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications, but the specific method of treatment depends on the severity of obesity.
  • General health and motivation to lose weight are important.
  • Medications may be prescribed in addition to an exercise program and a low-calorie diet.
  • Mind/body medicine, including psychotherapy, hypnosis, and meditation, may reduce the stress that so often leads to overeating.
  • In severe cases, gastrointestinal surgery may be considered.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 20, 2014