obesity Silently Fuels Complicated Health Issues
Obesity is a huge cause for concern nowadays not only from the cosmetic or lifestyle perspective but also from the health’s perspective. In other words, obesity is a silent killer as it fuels complicated health conditions. Excess body weight, if left uncontrolled, may lead to heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and stroke.
There is a common myth that you cannot do anything once you keep on putting weight – as many people believe that they cannot manage weight because they have a strong family history and genetic predisposition.
Many others say that in spite of trying all weight control measures available at their disposal, shedding extra pounds is not their cup of tea. A few others who have tried every possible diet, exercise regimen, medicines and life-style related changes to control weight say that it is extremely hard to lose weight.
Irrespective of whether obesity is a global issue, cosmetic concern or lifestyle disease, you have to be very careful about it – the reason, it could be due to many causes which are unknown to you. Unless you don’t know the cause of your obesity, it is difficult to manage it.
Let us understand more about obesity and why it is considered as a silent killer and what best you can do to manage your weight or lose your weight if you are obese.
What is obesity?
Fat in healthy proportions is not bad, but when it reaches in abnormally high or unhealthy proportions it makes our body unhealthy and leads to obesity. Overweight or obesity in real terms is dangerous if left unchecked as it may silently lead to several health issues which may sometimes prove life-threatening if not addressed in time.
Body Mass Index
There are several definitions and classifications for defining degrees of obesity. One such calculation is a mathematical one, which takes weight and height into consideration. It is known as BMI – Body Mass Index.
Body Mass Index is the most widely used method for measuring obesity. In general, an adult is considered to have a healthy weight if the BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9; overweight if the BMI is 25 to 29.9 and obese if BMI is 30 to 39.9. And a BMI above 40 means a person is severely obese .
Let us discuss the classification of obesity from the World Health Organization’s Perspective
- Overweight or Grade 1 overweight with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2
- Obese or Grade 2 overweight with a BMI of 30 – 39.9 kg/m2
- Morbid Obese or Severe Obese or Grade 3 overweight with a BMI above 40 kg/m2
Definition of Obesity in terms of percentage of body fats
Obesity can also be classified based on the percentage of body fats. In men, 21 to 25% is considered as borderline and the percentage of body fat greater than 25% is obese. In women, 31 to 33% of body fat is considered as borderline and above 33% is considered as obesity.
Waist Circumference – an indicator of obesity
Though BMI is a very good indicator of a healthy weight, overweight, obese and severely obese conditions, but some people who have muscular body show very high BMI without any excess body fat. Considering such cases, a better option is to measure waist circumference, in addition to measuring BMI in overweight or obese individuals with high BMI.
Therefore, a 37 inch or 94 cm waist circumference in men and 31.5 inches or 80 cm waist circumference in women is associated with obesity and they are at an increases risk of obesity-related complications – heart attack and stroke.
Causes and Risk Factors
The main cause of obesity is consuming too many calories and spending less mostly due to lack of physical activity. Nowadays, many youngsters, adults and even children are becoming obese owing to the consumption of energy-dense foods and lack of physical activity, which in turn is due to the sedentary nature of work.
In addition to this genetic, hereditary, environmental, racial, socio-economical, cultural and other factors may also play an important role in making a person obese. Obesity may also result due to the usage of some drugs and certain health conditions like PCOS in women.
Complications associated with obesity
Obesity-Related Health Issues: Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver issues, stroke, sleep apnea, arthritis, gallbladder disease, respiratory issues, and infertility in women, high cholesterol levels and high levels of triglycerides.
Prevention of Obesity
To prevent obesity, your goal should be to maintain ideal weight; or, if you are obese, then your target should be to reduce your weight to ideal weight. The following steps are beneficial for maintaining ideal weight and reducing weight:
- Avoid fat-rich and sugar-rich foods
- Eat foods that are low in fats
- Avoid stress, boredom and frustration
- Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink
- Increase physical activity and avoid a sedentary lifestyle
- Perform aerobic exercise
- Don’t use lifts, escalator, rather use stairs
- Know the differences between bad fats and good fats and also bad carbohydrates. Minimize consumption of fast food and snack foods.
Little steps mean a lot. Losing just 10% of your body weight can make a difference in your health.
Why You Should Consultant a Doctor?
Many people resort to a very strict exercise regime without even bothering to consult a doctor, but it is not a good practice. Unless you don’t know the exact cause of your obesity, your weight loss goal may go in the doldrums.
Your obesity could be due to many factors including illness, mental health issues, psychological causes, use of medications, hormonal issues as seen in women (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and many more such factors.
Therefore, prior to starting any such weight reduction program, it is always better to consult and talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. In this regard, it is better to consult a specialist doctor: a bariatric surgeon for weight loss treatment in Hyderabad.
Dr. Venugopal Pareek
MBBS, MS (Gen Surg), DNB (Surg. Gastro), FBMS, FIAGES, FAIS, FMS
Consultant Surgical Gastroenterologist, Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgeon