It is well known that in the United States we have a large percentage of the population that is overweight. It has become so prevalent, in fact, that many have called it an “obesity epidemic”. The most recent numbers show that 71.6% of Americans age 20 and older are considered overweight. This includes 40% that are obese, and nearly 10% that are considered severely obese.
What is Morbid Obesity?
A person is considered morbidly obese when their BMI reaches 40 or higher since this increases the risk of developing related health conditions. This typically equates to being about 100 pounds over the maximum ideal weight for your age, height, and gender. It is a chronic and serious disease and it’s important to treat it as such.
Why Does it Happen?
Many people believe that weight gain is caused by overeating, unhealthy eating, and limited exercise. Although this may be true for some sufferers, it’s not always the case. Studies have shown that there is also a genetic link to obesity. Because of this, proper diet and exercise might not be enough to maintain an ideal weight. Unfortunately, there is not much further information yet, so patients must be diligent to do what they can to retain a healthy lifestyle every day.
What are the Consequences?
Although there are some social, psychological, and economic effects of obesity, which should not be ignored, more important is the increased risk of a shorter life expectancy. Those who are twice their ideal weight are also twice as likely to suffer an early death. The risk of dying from a heart attack or diabetes is increased five to seven times. Morbid obesity can also lead to end-stage obesity when there are no available treatment options.
Potential Health Conditions with Obesity
Although any of these health conditions can occur in individuals of healthy weight, those who are obese tend to suffer more.
High Blood Pressure: A higher weight value means your heart has to work even harder. This can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.
Type 2 Diabetes: This is the type of diabetes that develops later in life, not at birth. Your body will not be able to regulate its blood sugar levels with insulin, and you may suffer serious body damage from high blood sugar.
Arthritis: When joints must carry extra weight, they have to work harder, which can lead to inflammation, aches, and pains from simple daily tasks such as walking or lifting.
Sleep Apnea: Fat deposits in the tongue and neck can block your airway when you are laying down and sleeping. This can prevent you from breathing, which can lead to death, or disruption of sleep, which can cause daytime drowsiness and headaches.
Heartburn: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), more commonly know as heartburn, happens when the stomach acid enters the esophagus from a weak or overloaded valve at the top of the stomach. If left untreated, this can lead to esophageal cancer.
See What We Can Do
Thankfully, there is hope for those who fall into the obese category. Laparoscopic and Endoscopic Surgery Institute provides several bariatric surgery options for patients in the Atlanta area. Please contact our practice today for more information or to schedule your appointment.
Contact our Metro Atlanta Bariatric & Laparoscopic Surgery practice today for more information or to schedule your appointment.