by HEALTHY HEART CLINICS
What is obesity?
Obesity is defined as the abnormal increase in size and amount of fat cells in the body. Obesity is a complex, chronic disease with many causes that result in excessive body fat and sometimes, poor health. Healthcare providers commonly use body mass index (BMI) to screen for obesity in adults. Healthcare providers use a generalization of a BMI of 30 or higher as an indicator of obesity. However, BMI does have limitations on how much data BMI screening is able to collect. Thus, BMI is used as an easily measurable indicator and can help alert you to obesity-related health risks.
What causes obesity?
There are many factors that can cause obesity. However, at the most basic level, obesity is caused by consuming more calories than your body can use.
Here are some factors that can increase your risk of obesity:
- Sugar – Sugar is everywhere in the food industry. Thus, it is easy to consume too many calories from sugar intake.
- Fast food – Fast and convenient foods sacrifice proper nutrition for easy and quick meals. These foods are highly processed, high in calorie, and will still leave you hungry because these foods to not give you proper nutritional value. Thus, it is easy to over consume fast foods.
- Hormones – Hormones are responsible for regulating hunger cues and satiety signals. If you are taking medications that affect your hormones or have hormone imbalances, you may experience a disruption in your hunger and satiety signals. This can lead to an over consumption of calories.
- Medications – Certain medications you take for other conditions can lead to weight gain. These medications include but are not limited to: antidepressants, steroids, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, and beta-blockers.
- Psychological factors – Experiencing strong emotions like anxiety, depression, loneliness, or boredom can lead to overeating. If you are experiencing these emotions in an abnormal amount, speak with your provider about how you are feeling. Together you can make a health plan that helps you navigate your emotions.
What are the symptoms of obesity?
Obesity can affect your body in a multitude of ways.
What are symptoms of obesity?Metabolic changes: your metabolism is how your body turns calories into energy. When you consume too many calories, your body will convert the extra calories into fat cells, thus resulting in weight gain over time. Over time, your body will use all available tissue to store fat cells resulting in the fat cells becoming enlarged. Enlarged fat cells can secrete hormones resulting in an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response (chronic inflammation) can result in developing an insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause your body to no longer use insulin to lower blood sugar levels and blood lipid (fat) levels. High levels of sugar and fats in your blood can also lead to high blood pressure.
- These changes can increase risk of: Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, and gallstones.
- Stress on respiratory system and bone can increase risk of: asthma, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, back pain, gout, and obesity hypoventilation syndrome.
How can I improve my quality of life?
- Find your clutch: do you have a sugary or savory food that you habitually consume as a “pick me up”? If this food or drink is high in calories, replace this food or drink with a healthier alternative.
- Increase your activity: living an active lifestyle is a great way to prevent obesity. Make a small choice every day that will lead to a great outcome over time. For example, start incorporating brisk walking for 15 minutes a day to your daily routine. After a week, increase your walking time. Or if you are able to run, do yoga, or other workouts, incorporate those activities into your routine.
- Grocery shop well: Plan your meals for the week and make sure you have a whole grain, a vegetable, and a lean protein built into your meals. Make a shopping list before you go to the store to prevent impulse buying unhealthy foods.
Each patient deserves the highest quality of care. Creating a personalized care program tailored to each patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances can help people regain control and maintain optimum health.