In general terms, Obesity refers to the excess amount of fat stored in the body. It is also known as overweight which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as from having too much fat. Obesity is generally not a disease but is known to be a major cause for the onset of various other diseases. Consuming more food means consuming more calories which then leads to obesity because our body stores unused calories as fat. Not only a major cause of other diseases, obesity sometimes makes it really difficult for the people to carry out their daily activities like washing, walking, bathing, running, lifting etc. Therefore, it should be treated at the earliest to ensure minimal damage. Being overweight puts strain on your heart and can lead to serious health problems. These problems include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Varicose veins
Signs and Symptoms
Following symptoms of obesity are:
- BMI – refers to Body Mass Index. This is actually a measurement to determine your weight with respect to your height. If your BMI is over 25, you will be considered overweight. However, if it goes beyond 40, you will come under the category – morbidly obese.
- Waist circumference - Extra weight around your middle or stomach area increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- Blood tests may be conducted to check for thyroid or hormone problems that could lead to weight gain.
In general, more calories stored means excess fat. However, the major causes of obesity are:
- Eating more food than your body demands
- Consuming too much alcohol
- Not involved in physical exercise
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Medicines such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and antipsychotics
- Stress, anxiety
The most basic and foremost treatment of obesity is to gain control over your calories intake.
- Lifestyle changes – an active and healthy lifestyle combined with healthy eating is found to be the safest way to reduce weight.
- Reading nutrition labels before consuming something can help you know more about calorie intake you should choose.
- Medications and herbal remedies.
- Significant effort to lose weight through dietician advised dietary changes, exercise or changing your lifestyle.
- Surgery – Surgery may help people who are obese for more than 5 years or more and have not lost weight through other ways such as diet, exercise, or medicine. There are different types of weight loss surgeries done to reduce weight significantly. They are:
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric binding (LAGB) - This is a surgical procedure where a silicon band lined with an inflated balloon is placed laparoscopically around the stomach in its upper section which creates a small pouch and a narrow passage. When you eat, the sensation of full stomach comes early and you will stop eating. In this, you will do less calories intake. This procedure is done with 5 small incisions and involves the use of adjustable silastic gastric band. Moreover, it can be done within one hour.
- Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery (LGBS) - In this type of surgery, the stomach size is reduced by creating a small pouch in its upper part using surgical staples. The smaller stomach is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine (jejunum), bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine (duodenum). The small stomach makes you feel full more quickly and part of the small intestine bypass causes reduced calories and nutrient absorption, which ultimately leads to weight loss.
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy - This procedure produces similar results to a gastric bypass but with lesser risks. The Gastric Sleeve is a new procedure that induces weight loss by restricting food intake (a restrictive procedure). In this procedure, the gastric surgeons remove almost 80% of the stomach laparoscopically. Using staples, the surgeons give it the shape of a tube or "sleeve" to measuring 30 to 50 cc. This surgery takes about 1-2 hours to complete and involves the use of endoplaster to divide the stomach. A patient can even start drinking from the second day after surgery. This surgery is extremely safe and effective as it doesn't involve disconnection of intestines compared to gastric bypass surgery.