Quick 30 Seconds Summary of Guide To Obesity
- Obesity is the excess accumulation of unwanted fat in the body.
- More than 650 million adults across the world fall under the category of obese individuals.
- Obesity is measured using BMI (Body Mass Index). A BMI of 30+ is diagnosed as obese.
- The symptoms of obesity include shortness of breath, fatigue, depression, sleep apnea, heart disease, arthritis etc.
- Obesity can be treated and prevented by increasing physical activity, eating healthy and reducing calorie intake.
- Surgical options such as bariatric surgery are also available to treat obesity.
- Obesity increases health risks such as stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, mental illness etc.
- Ayurvedic treatments are extremely effective when treating obesity.
Obesity is a preventable, treatable but serious health condition found worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, the number of obese people globally has tripled since 1975. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
Obesity - An Overview
Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of fat in the body that presents a risk to the overall health of the person. People with obesity are at a higher risk of succumbing to health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
Obesity results from inherited physiological and environmental factors, combined with diet, exercise, mental state and the overall lifestyle of the person.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that persons with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of above 30 fall under the category of obesity while persons with a BMI of 25-30 fall under the category of overweight. Both these categories are more vulnerable to health issues.
The symptoms of menopause begin with irregular periods. If you are above the age of 40 and start experiencing irregular periods, then usually this signifies the start of menopause.
Just like periods, every woman experiences menopause differently. Not all women experience, every symptom of menopause listed below, neither is the severity or intensity equal for everyone. In short, the menopause is a unique experience for every woman.
The Symptoms of Menopause:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweating
- Skin flushing
- Mood swings
- Lowered sex drive
- Vaginal dryness
- Abnormal weight gain or weight loss
- Facing issues with concentration
- Memory problems
- Dry skin, mouth, and eyes
- Higher frequency of urination
- Sore or tender breasts
- Severe headaches
- Racing heart
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Reduction of muscle mass
- Painful or stiff joints
- Reduction of bone mass
- Less full breasts
- Hair thinning or loss
- Unnaturally high density of hair growth on other areas of the body, such as the face, neck, chest, and upper back
Since menopause takes years to set in, the symptoms of menopause also last for years, thus adversely affecting the woman’s health for a long time.
What Are The Different Types Of Obesity?
Like any other health condition, obesity can be further divided into different types. In fact, according to a researcher and director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital – Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, there are 59 types of obesity in total so far.
Some of the most common types of obesity are:
This results from an excessive intake of food and sugary substances. Obesity caused by food can be reversed by following a healthy diet and cutting down on sugar and excess food intake.
“Nervous Stomach” Obesity:
Nervous Stomach obesity is a peculiar type of obesity caused by stress and anxiety, which triggers the habit of binge-eating or excessive eating of sweets. Controlling anxiety and managing stress is the first type in reducing this type of obesity.
Gluten based Obesity:
Gluten based obesity is usually observed in women at the adolescence stage, menopausal stage or when they are undergoing hormonal imbalance. There is a direct link between the excessive consumption of gluten in the diet and an increase in obesity in women. Women whose obesity is caused by gluten should avoid eating gluten-rich foods and exercise regularly.
Genetic Metabolic Obesity:
Low metabolism or genetically present metabolic issues result in genetic metabolic obesity. Generally, persons suffering from genetic metabolic obesity have an excess accumulation of fat on the stomach swollen like a balloon. Intense workouts and strict diets are the correct way to reduce this obesity.
Venous Circulation Obesity:
Venous circulation obesity is another type of obesity where changes in the structure of the walls of the vein occur resulting in swollen limbs and limitations to movement. Lymphedema, varicose veins and blood clots are linked to venous circulation obesity. Medication, diet and exercise is necessary to correct this obesity.
Symptoms of Obesity
Symptoms of obesity are easy to spot. Perfect Health Magazine has compiled a list of symptoms that are seen in people suffering from obesity.
Symptoms of Obesity:
- The Body Mass Index (BMI) is considered a key factor in determining the presence of obesity. A BMI of 30 and above is the first symptom of obesity.
- Excess body fat visible on the body especially near the waist.
- People who are obese have trouble in sleeping, snore a lot and often have sleep apnea.
- Shortness of breath is a common symptom of obesity.
- The inability to perform everyday physical tasks efficiently is also a major symptom of obesity.
- Experiencing fatigue frequently is a symptom of obesity. The fatigue can range from mild to severe depending on the level of obesity.
- In case of venous circulation obesity, varicose veins is seen in obese patients.
- Skin issues are also a symptom of obesity.
- Mental health issues such as lack of self-esteem, depression etc. are symptoms of obesity.
Causes of Obesity
One of the most fundamental causes of obesity is eating more calories than you burn. Over time these excess calories build up into fat deposits causing obesity.
Let us take a look at other factors that cause obesity:
According to genetic research, there are approximately 25 genes that are directly linked to obesity. Genetics affects the human body in innumerable ways. Family heredity and genetics are a leading cause of obesity.
Unhealthy habits such as little to no exercise, consumption of fast foods, sweets, alcohol and smoking all cause obesity.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety lead to hormonal imbalance, unhealthy habits and inadequate sleep – all of which contribute to obesity.
As the human body ages, the muscle mass is reduced and a slower metabolic rate is seen, this causes obesity in the elderly.
Pregnancy causes excess weight gain in women, while also causing a multitude of hormonal changes in the body. This makes it difficult to reduce weight post-pregnancy causing obesity.
Certain Diseases & Medications
Diseases like PCOD/PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovaries Disorder/Poly Cystic Ovaries Syndrome), cushing syndrome, arthritis and hyper hypothyroidism all can cause obesity. These diseases also make it difficult to lose weight.
Strong medications prescribed by doctors such as anti-depressants, anti-seizure tablets, beta blockers, diabetes medicines, steroids and anti-psychotic drugs all lead to obesity.
The non-availability of an area for exercise or even walking, lack of knowledge on good nutrition and healthy lifestyle are all socio-economic causes that result in obesity.
How is Obesity Diagnosed?
Physicians diagnose obesity based on multiple factors. The basic and most important factor being Body Mass Index (BMI).
Body Mass Index is the calculation of person’s weight in relation to their height.
The formula for BMI is:
BMI = (weight in KG / height in meters)2
The following chart shows how your BMI corresponds to your weight status
Courtesy: Very Well Health
Other methods of diagnosing obesity include calculating body fat using skin calipers and waist circumference.
For waist circumference, the reference point is:
- In women, if it is greater than 35 inches, it means obesity.
- In men, if it is greater than 40 inches, it means obesity.
What Are The Risks And Complications Associated With Obesity?
Obesity attracts various health risks and can also cause multiple complications for the patient suffering from it.
Perfect Health Magazine presents the list of risks and complications related to obesity:
- Heart disease and strokes: Obesity leads to high BP and abnormal cholesterol, which leads to heart disease.
- Type II Diabetes: Obesity affects the way the body uses insulin to control blood sugar levels.
- Certain cancers: Like cancer of Uterus, Cervix, Endometrium, Ovary, Breast, Colon, Rectum, Oesophagus, Liver, Gall Bladder, Pancreas, Kidney and Prostate.
- Digestive problems: Like heartburn, liver and gall bladder problems.
- Sleep apnea
- Osteo Arthritis
- Severe COVID 19 symptoms
- Depression, disability, shame and guilt, social isolation and lower work achievement.
How To Treat Obesity?
Treatments of obesity mostly cover extensive changes in a person’s lifestyle, nutrition and exercise. Medication and surgical options are presented only in cases of morbid obesity.
Following are some of the standard steps prescribed by doctors from all over the world when treating obesity:
- Consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activities and exercise. Cut down calorie consumption by atleast 500-1000 calories gradually.
- Following a strict exercise regimen everyday.
- Choosing healthy and fresh food over fast foods and packed foods.
- Doctor may also prescribe diet pills which assist in losing weight faster. However, most people who stop consuming these pills immediately regain all the lost weight.
In cases of morbid obesity, the doctor may suggest a bariatric surgery for weight loss. Typically, bariatric surgery is suggested to patients with a BMI of 40+ (in men) and 35+ (in women) who also have fatal health risks associated with obesity.
Gastroplasty is another surgery wherea surgeon creates a small pouch in the stomach that allows only limited amount of food to be consumed at one time. This is also referred to as stomach stapling.
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and gastric bypass are other surgical options for treating obesity.
How Do Alternative Therapies Treat Obesity?
India’s ancient Ayurveda has defined a practical and solid course of action to treat obesity. This treatment plan is based on all-natural herbs, foods and supplements.
Ayurvedic treatments for obesity range from simply making changes in the diet to extensive in-house treatments that significantly reduce obesity and cure other related diseases too.
The Shamana (Palliative) treatment includes:
- Langhan (Fasting),
- Ama pachan (oral use of digestives to augment the fat metabolism),
- Ruksha Udwartan (Dry medicated powder massage),
- Heavy and non-nourishing diet/items like honey, salad etc are advised.
- Yoga and meditation is also recommended.
The Samshodhana Chikitsa (Purificatory procedures) include:
- The famous Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy
- Vaman (Therapeutic emesis),
- Virechan (Therapeutic purgation),
- Lekhan vasti (Medicated enema) are advised for the management of Sthaulya.
- Single drugs: Guduchi, Vidanga, Musta, Sunthi, Amla, Vaca, Daruharidra, Guggulu, etc.
- Compound Formulations: Trikatu, Navak Guggulu, Triphala Guggulu, Vidangadi Churna, Takrarishta, Navayasa lauha, Arogya Vardhini Vati etc.
These treatments have worked wonders on patients worldwide. In fact due to their “all-natural” factor, Ayurvedic treatments are prefered by patients.