Morbid Obesity & Professional Help
Posted On: April 14, 2018
Obesity in general is a threat to your overall health as it can subject you to various health disorders. The problem becomes more troublesome, if you suffer from morbid obesity. In case of morbid obesity, your body stores more of unhealthy fat that further leads to different health issues.
Both morbid obesity and obesity are the end results of excess fat storage in your body. Body fat is defined as the unused calories the body stores. Your body derives calories from the food you eat and it is used as a fuel for the body. When you eat more calories than what your body actually needs to function smoothly, you’ll start accumulating the fat.
If your Body Mass Index is higher than 35, then you will come under morbid obesity category.
BMI is a measure of your body fat that is based on body weight and your height. With BMI, you can get to know if you have a healthy body weight in proportion body height. Though it’s not an ideal measurement, it does help in giving you a fair idea of the optimal weight ranges in accordance to the height. Normal BMI ranges from 20-25 and if your BMI is more than 35 or 40 then you may experience various health problems like diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis etc.
How is Morbid Obesity Diagnosed?
Physical examination is the most popular way of diagnosing morbid obesity. During your examination, the doctor will seek information about your body weight, height, physical activity level, eating habits and other vital information related to your overall health. One of the methods used for diagnosing morbid obesity is BMI calculation. However, BMI calculation will not always mean that you are at risk of morbid obesity because in some cases like for athletes, the BMI can fall in the obese category as their muscle weight is higher. This is the reason; doctors suggest other ways for diagnosing morbid obesity.
Calculating Body Fat Percentage
Another test type is the body fat percentage calculation. In this test, a skin fold is examined to check the body fat percentage. Also known as Caliper testing, it is one of the most common methods of determining your body fat percentage.
When calculating body fat percentage, your doctor will measure the density of a fold of skin usually from your arm, thigh or abdomen, using a caliper.
Other than Caliper testing, there are various other methods too such as the bioelectrical impedance. This test type is mostly done with the use of a particular scale type. Moreover, body at percentage can even be measured accurately with the help of special equipment that calculates water or air displacement.
Your doctor can even order some blood tests that help look for hormonal or other medical problems that could possibly be the underlying cause of your body gaining weight.
There are some medicines that are associated with weight gain, like the antidepressants. Certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism is also known to lead to weight gain. However, such conditions can be managed so as to refrain them from culminating in to obesity.
Common Obesity Related Conditions
Obesity can have an adverse effect on your health. In many cases, obesity is even known to decrease life expectancy. Morbid obesity can subject you to various health conditions. Some of the commonly associated health disorders with obesity include:
High blood pressure: High blood pressure is one of the most commonly experienced health problems. And experts suggest that obesity is among the common causes that lead to high blood pressure. Higher pressure on your artery walls tends to increase the blood pressure. Excess weight calls for high pressure for moving the blood in your body. Moreover, excess of weight can even increase the heart rate while reducing your body’s ability to carry blood through the body vessels.
Diabetes: Another common health problem that can arise due to obesity is diabetes; specifically Type 2 diabetes. When you become obese, the body becomes insulin resistant. Insulin functions to regulate the sugar levels. With diabetes, you become prone to other complications related to kidney, heart and other organs.
Heart disease/stroke: If you have excess body weight, it can affect your heart as well. As obesity makes way for high blood pressure, the heart rate also fluctuates. The blood transports oxygen and nutrients that help in healthy functioning of body's tissues. Obesity interferes with this process by making you prone to various cardiovascular disease risk factors like high blood pressure and diabetes. It even harms the heart muscles that can lead to heart attack, or heart diseases like coronary heart disease. In many cases, it can even lead to stroke and severe damage to kidneys.
Osteoarthritis: The most common health complication associated with excess weight is pain in bones and joints. Your body’s weight bearing joints, hips and knees, suffer from rapid wear & tear as well as inflammation and pain because of obesity. Strain as caused on bones and muscles in the back can lead to disk problems, decreased or restricted mobility and pain.
Sleep apnea/respiratory problems: As excess fat gets deposited in your tongue and neck, it can lead to blockage in the air passages, particularly in obese people who have the habit of sleeping on their backs. This can lead them to losing sleep and further leads to day time drowsiness plus headaches.
Infertility: Among the various causes of infertility, obesity is also one. It can affect both male and female hormones which will lead to abnormal monthly cycles in females as well as inability to conceive. In males, obesity can affect sperm quality, cause hormonal changes and reduced sexual drive.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease: Obesity is also known to weaken and overload the valve located at the top of your stomach. This valve lets the stomach acid to get into the esophagus which is known as gastroesophageal reflux. Heartburn and acid indigestion are the common symptoms of this disease. Some obese people suffering from mild heartburn even tend to develop Barrett's esophagus, which happens to be a pre-malignant change in the membrane lining as well as a cause of esophageal cancer.
Lower self-esteem and depression: Obese people are often subjected to mockery which makes them feel rejected. This leads to lower self-esteem and depression in many cases. The constant criticism and remark from family, friends and even strangers with regard to obesity makes things worse for the mental health of obese people.
Urinary stress incontinence: A large and heavy abdomen tends to relax the pelvic muscles, constituting childbirth effects. This leads to weakening of the valve on the urinary bladder that lets leakage when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.Treating Morbid Obesity
Treating morbid obesity often depends on the intensity of the condition. If it’s not very severe, which means you are on the verge of being obese, things can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. However, if the condition is very grave, then other treatment options will be considered.
Let us have a look at some of the ways used to treat morbid obesity:
Diet and Exercise
Before recommending any other treatment, your doctor will first suggest a proper diet and exercise routine. Healthy diet goes a long way in helping you maintain ideal weight and maintaining overall health.Along with healthy eating and exercise, it is also crucial that you manage your stress levels properly so that you don’t fall prey to overeating. For effective diet and exercise routine, you will have to seek professional help from your doctor and expert dietician. They will guide you in making the right choices and following a healthy lifestyle.
Weight Loss Drugs
In certain cases, your doctor can even prescribe various weight loss drugs. These drugs help in weight loss, however; most people regain the weight so lost as soon as they stop taking the medicines.
Even the herbal and over-the-counter supplements are not effective in weight loss for long term. These medications have a short term effect and are therefore not a permanent solution for weight loss.
Surgery for weight loss
When medicines, diet and exercise don’t serve the purpose, your doctor will suggest surgery for weight loss. Of the various weight loss surgeries, Bariatric Surgery is said to be the most effective method for treating morbid obesity. It is the ideal process for people who have a BMI that’s higher than 40 and have been suffering from associated medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressures, etc.
How Bariatric Surgery Benefits You?
- It helps you feel better and healthier
- Helps in reducing around 50 per cent of excess body weight
- if you’re suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure or diabetes, you will not need any medications, post surgery
- Males experience improved sexual function
- Reduced cases of sleep apnoea
- Slows down the disabling effects of arthritis
- Improves self-esteem and increases energy
Types of Bariatric Surgery
Before undergoing bariatric surgery, you should understand that it has different types. Majorly, bariatric surgery has four different types that can help with weight loss. These types include:
Adjustable Gastric Band: Commonly known as the band surgery, it is the most basic and easiest of surgeries. In this procedure, your surgeon will place a band around the top part of your stomach so as to create a pouch which acts as the new and smaller stomach. This makes you feel fuller even after eating a small meal which makes you eat less. Once you have attained desired weight loss, this band can be removed surgically.
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery: Commonly known as gastric bypass, the process has two steps. The first step calls for the surgeon creating a new smaller stomach, similar to the one created with gastric band. In this case, it uses staples rather than the band which makes this process more permanent. Secondly, your surgeon will attach the new stomach to the jejunum which will make your body absorb fewer calories from the food you eat.
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy: In this process, your surgeon will remove around 80 percent of your stomach. As the major part of stomach is removed, it becomes a permanent process. Post the surgery, the stomach looks like a banana. Sleeve gastrectomy: Also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy is the first part of the surgical procedure for a biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. While in most cases, the first part is enough for weight loss, in certain cases, the second part, biliopancreatic diversion, is needed. Here the stomach shape changes to that of a tube.
Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch: It is a multipart process where around 80 percent of your stomach is removed. The valve, releasing food to the small intestine remains, with a specific part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach (duodenum). The surgery bypasses the major part of the intestine by connecting intestine’s end portion to the duodenum near the stomach (duodenal switch and biliopancreatic diversion). This surgery limits how much you eat while reducing the absorption of nutrients. Though an effective process, it can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. This process is mostly recommended for people with a BMI higher than 50.
When to consider bariatric surgery?
A bariatric surgery should be considered when no other treatment or option helps you lose weight. You should always aim at losing weight by controlling your diet and exercising. And if nothing seems to be working, bariatric surgery could be your last resort.
Also, as there are different types of bariatric surgery, the best type will be selected based on your body type and other factors.
Life after Bariatric surgery
Once your bariatric surgery is over, you will have to make certain changes to your lifestyle. Most importantly, you will have to take care of your diet. You may have to take vitamins or certain supplements.
In the initial few weeks of the surgery, you'll be recommended to start with liquid foods. Gradually you will be shifted to pureed foods as your stomach will not be in a stage to digest heavy food particles. You will have to limit water intake with meals as the stomach will be smaller and it won’t be able to fit everything.
To make sure that your results sustain and last longer, you will have to make considerable changes to your diet and lifestyle. As long as you follow the recommended dietary guidelines, you’ll stay safe from putting on weight.
This is often known as the non-invasive process that causes no scarring. Intra-gastric balloon aids in shedding off excess weight without any scar of surgery.
In this process, the surgeon will place a soft balloon through your mouth into the stomach using an endoscope. The balloon is then inflated in the stomach with the help of a saline solution. Once the balloon is inflated, it occupies space in your stomach thus reducing the capacity of your stomach. It makes you feel fuller which makes you eat less without feeling hungry. The intra-gastric-balloon process usually takes around 30 minutes and you are given mild sedation to keep you pain free.
The process will help you in losing weight between 15 to 25 kg. In the initial six months, when the balloon is in place, you will be advised to follow some life-style changes to attain long term success from this process. The results of this process are always effective when followed by healthy diet and regular exercise.
It is the ideal process for those who have failed to lose weight despite following strict diets and exercise regimens.
Preventing Morbid Obesity
As explained earlier, both obesity and morbid obesity are grave and potentially life-risking conditions. While there are treatment options, it is always better to follow some preventive methods.
The first thing to take care of is avoiding “fad” diets and focusing on changing the eating pattern. To prevent morbid obesity, you should:
- include more fruits and vegetables in the diet
- eat smaller meals at regular intervals
- count your calories
- eat mindfully
- limit intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and refined sugars
Another important thing to take care of is undertaking physical activity. You should do moderate to vigorous exercise. Some exercise forms to try are:
- running or jogging
- jumping rope
- brisk walking
If diet and exercise are not helping you lose weight, you should consider seeking out professional help before it’s too late. Delaying the treatment will only subject you to different health complications.
At Shalby Hospitals, we have a team of professionals who combine their skills and experience to help you with effective weight loss with the right treatment regime. Along with surgeries like Bariatric, the experts at Shalby even help you with the right diet and exercise routine that will help in sustaining the results for longer.
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