How To Diagnose And Treat Obesity?
We know that obesity is so endemic worldwide that it can truly be called an epidemic nowadays. We see that it's impacted Western countries or those that mimic the American diet much more than the rest of the world. There's really a lot to do with nutrition.
The statistics are really quite alarming with over 60% of the population of the US is considered either overweight or obese. It truly is an epidemic.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Let's talk a little bit about some of the basic tools you need to understand. One of them is the body mass index. BMI is one of the key figures used in determining whether one is overweight or obese. It's calculated by dividing height in meters by weight in kilograms and there's a lot of charts available that can do all the calculations for you.
If your BMI is between 25 and 29. 9 then you're overweight. BMI of 30 or more means you're obese. And the BMI of 40 and more means you're morbidly obese. These are some basic terminology you really need to know.
While body weight can be affected to some degree by your genetics, the major impact comes from lifestyle and diet. In fact, there's a lot of statistics that show that maybe 50% are things out of your control but a solid 50% is truly within your control. Truly, 50% is an awful lot.
For instance, the fact that North Americans are much heavier than people in Asia or Africa is primarily due to that high fat high calorie and large portion sizes that compose the American diet. This is actually in stark contrast to Asian and African diets, which contain a lot of fiber and are much lower in fat comparative American diet.
This is quite a concern for many health authorities because the strong link between obesity and serious diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, many different types of cancer including breast prostate and colon. There's a very strong connection between obesity and all of these diseases I just mentioned.
There's also other factors which may exacerbate weight conditions. They found that there's several hormones, neurotransmitters, receptors as well as some psychological issues such as depression and anxiety, which can impact your weight. There are lots of research going on in this field and there are many substances, which are being identified which might be helpful to help control weight.
They're exploring actively now these fields of possibly exploring the role of the leptin, melanocortin and the ghrelin if you've heard any of these terms. Don't need to go into them now but if you've heard about them these are things that are on the horizon that may be able to help you control your weight.
How To Diagnose Obesity?
First of all it's important to understand how obesity is diagnosed properly to understand that how much of an epidemic it really is. The following steps are usually done in order to diagnose obesity.
First of all you go to a physician. A doctor will take an extensive medical history and do a physical exam. You have to be mindful of any type of genetic risks. There could be some thyroid disease, cardiac disease or coronary artery disease.
Take special note of any medication or non-standard herbal remedies that the patient might be taking. In order to be sure to include current nutritional in profile as well and certainly also the level of physical activity, all of these things should be addressed in that original physical exam the doctor provides.
There also should be a measurement of your waist circumference, your body mass index should be calculated. And many times it's important to do a waist and hip circumference ratio as well as a body percentage to be fully accurate.
The last step in the full complete diagnosis is to obtain bloodwork. You want to make sure there's some fasting glucose obtained as well as liver function tests, your kidney function tests, cholesterol levels and a basic CBC or a blood test.
These things all combine to get the proper diagnosis of obesity or overweight as well as any other diseases that might be going on.
How To Treat Obesity?
Since the treatment of obesity is truly the goal, let's discuss that now. Treating obesity can really involve one of the following four methods.
The first one is lifestyle modification. This integrates diet and exercise and it's truly the cornerstone of obesity treatment.
The research has shown that one of the most effective ways to treat obesity is by combining a plant-based diet with a moderate exercise program.
The second avenue that's many people try there are some therapies which are based on drugs. The only problem with this is results have not been that encouraging because the patient is likely to gain the weight back once the drugs are discontinued. It's not a good step for long-term weight loss.
Third avenue and this is for extreme cases people that are morbidly obese bariatric surgery is an option. This treatment was met with some success in treating the highly obese individuals.
However, it's also important to recognize that there's always a risk of complications. Particularly in the case of inexperienced bariatric surgeons certainly death can result. If you are morbidly obese and you are considering bariatric surgery, please, do your due diligence and find a surgeon who's done a very high volume of cases to have your best results in mind.
The fourth avenue is that there's a proliferation of products advertising miraculous weight loss results. Certainly, in early 2010 the FDA study was released which showed that most if not all of these weight loss miraculous results and products are either ineffective or they come with serious side effects.
And a perfect example of this is ephedra. This is one product which was seen to be effective in weight control but the results were so severe and the side effects were very real, which included heart disease and death, that the FDA took it off the market.
These are really the four avenues and as you can see that all the treatment options the only one that's truly viable is the first one - the lifestyle modification. The rest simply come with either serious side effects or they're unable to provide long-term results.
Truly, lifestyle modification has been shown over and over again to not only be the key to treating obesity but it's also a way to a very healthy and energetic way of life.