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Obesity : Rising The Problem, Detection and its Cure

Dr. Rahul Verma 1805 Views
Updated: 18 Jan 2024
Published: 12 Dec 2022
primary cause of obesity

According to WHO, obesity has tripled worldwide since 1975. It has become a massive health concern as it increases the risk factors for many other health issues as well. Many think that obesity is just about gaining weight but this health issue has become way more serious and turned into a massive global concern. If not diagnosed and treated properly, your overall health can take a bad turn. All that said, there’s good news too! It is easy to understand the symptoms, get a diagnosis and start the treatment. You can cure obesity if you stick to your treatment properly.

Obesity is rising and the world must be aware of all its aspects. Here goes a detailed discussion of the disease, its detection, the problems it causes and its cure.

Symptoms of obesity

The symptoms of obesity can be different in children and adults. Certain detection parameters are different as well. With that, below are mentioned the common symptoms of obesity in children and adults.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

The often-used measurement system by professionals to detect obesity is called BMI. One’s BMI number is calculated based on body weight and height. When the BMI crosses a certain level, obesity is diagnosed. In adults, BMI between 25.0-29.9 is considered overweight, BMI equal to or more than 30 is diagnosed as obesity and above 40 is termed morbid obesity. The BMI level for detecting obesity varies from adults to children.
 

obese bmi chart

Common symptoms among adults

The common physical symptoms of obesity seen in adults are mentioned below:

  • Excessive body fat, especially around the waist
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Snoring
  • Fatigue
  • Skin problems
  • Struggling to do usual physical activities
  • Back and joint pain

The common psychological symptoms of obesity seen in adults are mentioned below:

Common symptoms among children

The common physical symptoms of obesity seen in children are mentioned below:

  • Shortness of breath due to physical activity
  • Fatty tissue accumulation
  • Stretch marks in the hip and back area
  • Velvety and dark skin around the neck
  • Constipation
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Orthopaedic problems

The common psychological symptom of obesity seen in children is low self-esteem:

What causes obesity?

Genetic, metabolic, hormonal and behavioural influences can result in weight gain in many. Nonetheless, certain factors can increase the risk factors of obesity the most.

Genetic inheritance

Obesity can run in families. So, genetic inheritance can influence the body in many ways. It can affect how and where the body stores fat, how the body converts energy from food, how the body manages appetite as well as how the body burns calories during the workout.

Lifestyle choices

How you live your life can affect your body weight and obesity. An unhealthy diet rich in calories and without good nutrients can increase your body weight. Drinking high-calorie beverages regularly can be risky as well. Along with bad food habits, a lack of physical activities and exercises can impact your body negatively.

Certain medical conditions and medications

Some specific underlying diseases can result in excessive weight gain and lead to obesity. Thyroid, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Cushing Syndrome are to mention a few. With the correct treatment of the medical conditions, the risk factors of obesity can be reduced. Furthermore, medications like antidepressants, corticosteroids and seizure medicines can also cause obesity.

Economic and social problems

Not everyone can afford healthier food and maintain a healthy diet. Similarly, not everyone can have access to a safe space for going on a walk or doing exercises. One may not also have been taught about healthy ways of cooking and eating. All these economic and social problems can be the reason for one’s weight gain.

Stress and emotional factors

People eat differently under stress and other emotional factors. Some tend to overeat or crave calorie-rich food when angry, upset, bored or stressed. This habit of eating more than usual or eating unhealthy food can become the reason for obesity in the long run.

Certain sleeping habits

Both less than and more than enough sleep causes changes in appetite increasing hormones. This can make one eat more and eventually gain weight.

Pregnancy

Often women gain weight during pregnancy. When they find it difficult to lose weight after delivery, obesity can be on the rise.

How to detect obesity?

If you are noticing any signs of weight gain or are having obesity symptoms mentioned before, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will do a physical exam and advise accordingly.

Reviewing health history

The doctor can review your eating habits, physical activities, exercise, weight-loss efforts, underlying medical conditions and medication history. Your family’s health history can also be considered to verify genetic influences.

Performing Physical exam

The doctors may check your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and abdomen.

Measuring BMI

A BMI greater than 30 can dictate obesity. Hence, a doctor will check your BMI. If obesity runs in your family, you should get your BMI checked annually.

Measuring waist

Fat around the waist can be the symptom of many health issues like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Hence, measuring the waist is essential.

Complications

With challenging symptoms, obesity can have many physical and psychological problems.

Physical complications

The physical complications of obesity are mentioned here:

Heart problems

High blood pressure along with abnormal cholesterol levels can be major side effects of obesity. These abnormalities can increase the risk factors for strokes and other heart diseases.

Digestive disorders

You can develop heartburn, liver problems and gallbladder disease because of obesity.

Type 2 diabetes

Obesity may influence your body’s reaction to insulin to keep your blood sugar level in control. You can become insulin resistant.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea refers to a breathing disorder that stops and starts breathing repeatedly during sleep. It can be triggered by obesity.

Certain cancers

Obesity can increase the risk factors for uterus, breast, ovary, liver, kidney, cervix, colon, prostate and endometrium cancer.

Osteoarthritis

Inflammation in the body can be a side effect of obesity. The weight gain can also put more pressure on the joints. These can lead to osteoarthritis.

Psychological complications

Obesity can affect your quality of life. If not diagnosed and treated timely, symptoms like depression, low self-esteem, shame and social isolation will become worse with time.

Cure

To cure obesity, you must focus on reducing your weight and maintaining it. There are multiple ways to achieve that.

Dietary changes

Healthier eating habit is a key treatment for obesity. Instead of calorie-rich food, eat healthy foods that can promote weight loss. Replace your regular meals with healthier choices. You can consult a dietician for an appropriate diet chart. Remember that you must maintain healthier eating habits to stay within a healthy weight limit.

Exercise and movement

Along with making healthier food choices, make exercise a part of your daily schedule. Going on walks and runs helps. Also, you can work out at home and join a yoga class or gym.

Behaviour changes

Behaviour modification programmes can help. Counselling and support groups can motivate one to continue a healthier lifestyle and deal with the psychological side effects that come with obesity.

Weight-loss surgery

There are many weight-loss surgeries. You can consult doctors and they can provide you with the best suggestions for your case. However, you have to commit to lifelong changes in your eating habits and exercise regimes.

Weight-loss medication

Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can take weight-loss medication. Your doctor can prescribe you the necessary medication.

Obesity is a growing concern. However, timely diagnosis and proper treatment can help cure the disease. If you have any obesity symptoms, don’t waste time and consult a doctor right away. With a diagnosis in hand, the first step of treating obesity is taken. After that, you will have to focus on making lifestyle changes. If you return to your previous lifestyle after curing obesity once, the weight gain and other symptoms may come back. So, you must maintain a healthier lifestyle. Also, if you have a history of obesity in your family, go for annual health checks including BMI and waist measurements.

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