obesity

Obesity – A food disorder

Muhammad Waqar underwent a weight loss surgery nearly in 2017 at the age of 34. He was caught by obesity. A fit and smart man in his 20s, unhealthy nutrition and overeating have made him suffer obesity. In a brief period of time, he gained a lot of weight, nearly 150 kg in total. This excess weight gain caused several issues for him, including high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia, depression, diabetes, and whatnot.

The doctor asked him to exercise and walk every day. The excess weight caused him many problems, and if he was not capable of driving alone. Moreover, he suffered from sleep apnea, which was a terrifying situation. The fight against obesity resulted in depression. But he was fortunate to have the full support of his family in this challenging phase of life. After observing his medical condition, doctors advised him to go for weight loss surgery. He gave it some thought and eventually decided to go it. Now, after a successful weight loss operation, he is living a better and healthy life.

Almost everybody is concerned about their physical appearance, posture, body form, and so on. We can handle all of this by controlling our diet and exercising. And then comes to a very complex condition called obesity; primarily a term doctors used when they speak of weight. This results in excessive amounts of body fat.

Being obese is not one’s fault. It is, in fact, a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases. Despite being difficult to treat, it can be cured. Obesity is a condition that arises when a person has excess weight or body fat that may affect health.

Understanding Obesity with BMI

Generally, obesity is linked to weight gain. But what can be done to make it more understandable? In order to understand what obesity really is, we need to get an idea of the Body Mass Index (BMI), the primary determinant of obesity. It determined by the height and weight of a person.

How BMI can be measured?

There is no easy way to measure body fat directly. Since BMI represents body weight relative to height, there is a strong association with total body fat in adults. An adult with a BMI of 25-29.9 is overweight, and an adult with a BMI greater than 30 is obese. A person who has a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 has a normal weight.

Image result for weight categories on the basis of bmi
Weight classification by BMI (Credit: ResearchGate)

Causes

Excess weight causes several health issues like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, cardiac arrest, and obesity. If the major causes of this disease identify, it can be readily treated. Obesity is more than just a matter of food. Several factors can lead to it.

● Disturbed sleep patterns can cause hormonal changes that can make you feel more hungry. People who do not sleep well can weigh more than those who sleep. Hormones that indicate hunger and fullness do not always function properly in overweight people.

● Overeating can lead one toward excessive body fat. Unhealthy diets and junk food may cause some serious problems, including obesity.

● Normally, obesity occurs in families according to a clear heritage pattern caused by changes in a gene. Genetics may affect the transformation of food into energy within our bodies.

● Obesity is also related to mental health. There is a relation between “mood and food,” people who experience depression and low self-esteem have high chances of affecting. It is said that obesity is related to medication used to treat mental health-related issues.

● Above all, some environmental factors are causing obesity. Such as billboard and TV ads that promote food consumption are high in calories and fat. Unhealthy, high calories, low-nutrient foods can lead one toward obesity. 

● Lack of physical activities like walking, swimming, exercise can lead us toward weight gain. And not having the inspiration of doing some exercises can lead us to obesity. And definitely, this laziness can cost too much in terms of obesity.

An illustration depicting the outcomes of overeating and obesity
An illustration depicting the outcomes of overeating and obesity (Credit: American Society for Nutrition)

What problems are caused by obesity?

Several health problems are related to overweight and obesity. It can cause many medical complications.

● More weight can cause high blood pressure. A blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. But if one is having blood pressure around 140/90, then it is considered hypertension. Usually, a person having hypertension may not have any symptoms, but it can cause severe medical complications. In general, a person suffering from obesity can have stress, which leads to high blood pressure. Excess fat can cause hindrance to the pumping of blood in the body.

● Moreover, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases with obesity. Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes sugar levels in the blood to become too high. It can cause serious problems like heart attack, complications related to eyes, and kidney problems.

● Extra weight can cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can cause heart diseases. It may lead to heart failure, heart attack, and cardiac arrest if you have heart disease. Extra weight and excess fats can disturb the body’s blood supply, which may lead to severe problems.

● Obesity is also linked with cancer. Cancer usually occurs when cells in the body grow abnormally. Fat cells can release hormones that affect cell growth, resulting in cancer. Cancer of the breast, kidney, rectum, and colon is related to obesity.

Sleep apnea is an illness in which a person takes one or more respiratory breaks during sleep. Overweight people can have more fat stored around their neck. Due to which smaller respiratory tracts may make breathing difficult or noisy as a result of snoring.

● Obesity may originate complications during pregnancy. During pregnancy gaining too much weight can cause long-term health problems to both mother and child. This includes the weight gain in the mother after the birth of the baby. Another risk is that the baby can become overweight later as a child or as a grown-up.

● In addition to that, being overweight can cause joint problems in aged people. The impact of obesity is especially felt in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joints. If we put it into simple words, it would be that one’s body is not handling weight more than it should. So additional weight puts pressure on joints such as knees, back, and hips.

Prevention

Obesity is not a curse. It is a medical problem that can be treated if we take enough precautions. Even small weight loss can prevent the risk of these deadly diseases. Losing weight by exercising, regular walking, and proper medication can decrease problems like type 2 diabetes, heart and blood pressure. Weight loss can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar level.

Moreover, a healthy diet and low alcohol consumption can save one from obesity. Proper healthy eating may also help control weight for some obesity and related health problems. Weight loss surgery may be an option. Bariatric or weight loss surgery effectively promotes weight loss and reduces the risk for many health problems.

Also Read: A granola a day keeps the hunger pangs away

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