Understanding Obesity: Symptoms and Treatment

Obesity refers to the excess in body fat.

While that may seem like a simple explanation, this medical condition can cause a number of complex problems. Living with obesity raises serious health concerns and puts you at a higher risk of certain diseases.

An obese person is someone who has accumulated so much body fat that it might have a negative effect on their health. According to the CDC, You are considered overweight if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 25.0<30. You are considered obese if your BMI is 30.0 or more. BMI is determined by taking a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. To determine your BMI now, use our BMI calculator below.

Are you a candidate for weight-loss surgery?

There are several reasons that you might seek out weight-loss surgery , with the most common being that you are obese or overweight. If you have a BMI of 30 with obesity related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, then you may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery. Similarly, if you have a BMI of 40, with or without weight-related health conditions, you could also qualify. But simply having a certain BMI is not the only qualifier for weight-loss surgery, and BMI alone can’t guarantee you surgical eligibility. Other qualifiers include:

  • You are over age 18
  • You are considered overweight or obese
  • You have tried other weight-loss methods without success
  • You are medically stable and physically able to withstand surgery
  • You pass a psychological screening test that helps determine if you are able to comply with postsurgical behavior modifications
  • You complete all required pre-operative testing

Complete this assessment to help determine if weight-loss surgery is right for you.

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BMI Calculator
Unit System
BMI > 18.5
18.5 - 24.9
25 - 29.9
30 < BMI

If your BMI is greater than 25, we recommend talking to your doctor about the ways you can reduce weight gain and maintain a healthy weight.

Medical Conditions Associated with Obesity

Today, obesity is an intensifying problem in America, affecting 1 in 3 adults, according to the National Institutes of Health. There are dozens of medical conditions associated with obesity. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, people who are obese or morbidly obese risk developing:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon)

Leading Causes of Obesity

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, 2 in 5 adults in the U.S. have obesity, with 1 in 11 having severe obesity. It’s clear that obesity is a prevalent disease in America, with trends continuing to rise — but what causes these trends? According to the CDC, the following are some of the leading causes of obesity. It’s important to note that obesity is a complex disease that can culminate through genetics, lifestyle and social determinants.

  1. Consuming too many calories

A regular excess intake of fat, sugar and carbohydrates can lead to being overweight or obese, as the body can only process so much of each of these. Regular overeating can be attributed to poor emotional regulation, impulse control or limited access to foods that aren’t highly processed, and high in calories. The general recommended calorie intake from the CDC is 2,000 calories per day, but you may need more or less depending on your lifestyle, body type, age and existing health conditions.

  1. Leading a sedentary lifestyle

The less you move around the fewer calories you burn. With the arrival of televisions, computers, video games, remote controls, washing machines, dishwashers and other modern convenience devices, the majority of people in the U.S. are leading a much more inactive lifestyle compared to their ancestors from prior generations.

Physical activity has an effect on how your hormones work, and hormones have an effect on how your body deals with food. Several studies have shown that physical activity has a beneficial effect on your insulin levels – keeping them stable. Unstable insulin levels are closely associated with weight gain. It’s recommended by the American Heart Association to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week to avoid health risks associated with being too sedentary.

  1. Not sleeping enough

Lack of sleep or erratic sleeping patterns can also affect weight. According to a study by JAMA Internal medicine, people who slept less than 6.5 hours per night had a significant energy decrease, which led to cravings for more and higher calorie foods to attempt to replace energy stores, as compared to people who slept for 8.5 hours on average. Sleep can also affect your hormones, and erratic sleep can cause your metabolism to slow down, to try and hold onto the energy you need throughout the day. This is how erratic sleep can contribute to obesity risk.

  1. Genetics and hormones

Genetics can also play a role in whether or not you develop obesity. Certain genes can contribute to obesity by increasing hunger cues, or result in slow metabolism. Inherited hormone imbalances, or medications that affect your hormones, can also impact your weight and your ability to lose weight on your own. There is a specific variant of the gene associated with monogenic obesity that shows a direct correlation between inherited obesity in a family, according to the CDC.

  1. Social Determinants

Social determinants refers to the conditions in which we live, work and engage with community, and these all have profound effects on our health. For example, if you didn’t have access to healthy food options growing up, or were never taught how to cook healthy meals for yourself, then you may have an increased risk of developing obesity. Accessibility to healthy foods, social support, and even policies and community design can all play a role in your long-term health.

As you can see, obesity can be a result of factors we both can, and cannot, control. These factors are why we at the Surgical Weight Control Center want to provide our patients an opportunity to take back control over their body and their body image.

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