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About Obesity

Obesity

Obesity is condition where the body has accumulated excess fat in a disproportionate way; which contributes various health risks. It results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities.

Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. WHO defines overweight and obesity as follows:

  • Overweight is a BMI greater than or equal to 25.
  • Obesity is a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults.

Raised BMI is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases such as:

  • Cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke)
  • Diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints)
  • Some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon)

Nutrition vs Obesity

  • A healthy diet helps protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
  • Unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health.
  • Healthy dietary practices start early in life – breastfeeding fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer-term health benefits, like reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life.
  • Energy intake (calories) should be in balance with energy expenditure. Evidence indicates that total fat should not exceed 30% of total energy intake to avoid unhealthy weight gain
  • Limiting intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake is part of a healthy diet. A further reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake is suggested for additional health benefits.
  • Keeping salt intake to less than 5 g per day helps prevent hypertension and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Increased sweating
  • Increased body odor
  • Increased flabbiness of the body
  • Liking for sedentary life
  • Heaviness of the chest region
  • Increased secretions form eyes, tongue and ears
  • Steady increase in body weight and girth
  • Increased growth of hairs and nails
  • Likings for cold food and environment
  • Unusual thirst
  • Sweet taste in the mouth
  • Burning sensation in hands and legs

Investigation

  • Complete health history: Reviewing weight history, weight-loss efforts, exercise habits, eating patterns, what other conditions one had, medications, stress levels and other issues about your health. Review of family’s health history may be considered to see if there is predisposition to certain conditions.
  • A general physical exam: This includes also measuring height; checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; listening to your heart and lungs; and examining the abdomen.
  • Calculating your BMI: Body mass index (BMI) determines the level of obesity. This should be done at least once a year. Your BMI also helps determine the overall health risk and what treatment may be appropriate.
  • Measuring your waist circumference: Fat stored is around waist, sometimes called visceral fat or abdominal fat, which may further increase the risk of diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Women with a waist measurement (circumference) of more than 35 inches (80 centimeters, or cm) and men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches (102 cm) may have more health risks than do people with smaller waist measurements. Like the BMI measurement, your waist circumference should be checked at least once a year.
  • Checking for other health problems: A check for other possible health problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes maybe checked.
  • Blood tests: Number and type of blood test depends on your health, risk factors and any current symptoms. Tests may include a cholesterol test, liver function tests, a fasting glucose, a thyroid test and others. Sometimes certain heart tests, such as an electrocardiogram maybe advised.

Treatment

After the thorough evaluation; treatments such as detoxification/Panchakarma are planned as part of the treatment protocol. All the components of the treatment are customized as per the need and weight loss goal. Weight management is encouraged through suggestion of regular weight management therapies along with diet and lifestyle modification. There are general and specific diet and lifestyle modifications suggested based on the individual needs.

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