Written By: Emma Squillace
We hear from studies that obesity is an ‘epidemic’ with rising rates every year. We also hear from healthcare providers, the media, and many other sources, that people who are obese should make weight loss a priority. But why exactly is obesity such a big deal? First, we should set aside the potential cosmetic concerns of obesity. Many people find they are discriminated against because of their weight, and they have lower self-confidence and lower quality of life. However, some people are comfortable with the way they look at any weight – so the true reasons for concern about obesity are not about physical appearance. At West Medical, we have a team that has dedicated themselves to treating obesity, and here are some primary reasons why:
Obesity is linked to diseases
It may seem like excess fat is just a substance that passively sits attached to your body, but fat is more dangerous than that. It has been found that fat can play an active role in the way your body functions, and in many cases fat has a negative effect. For instance, fat increases our chances of getting heart diseases, multiple types of cancer, sleep apnea, and type 2 diabetes. In many cases, the increased risks with obesity are not small but are significant. With Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), people who are obese have an 81% higher chance of developing this heart condition, compared with people of normal weight. Obesity also increases the risk of ischemic stroke by 64%, when compared with the risk for people of normal weight. Beyond the risk of diseases, obesity is directly tied to the risk of dying earlier. One study showed that for every 5 point increase in BMI over 25, there is an almost 50% increase in cardiovascular death.
Adds difficulties to our lives
In addition to putting people at higher risk for diseases and earlier death, obesity can also get in the way of goals people are trying to achieve. One example we hear about often at West Medical, is obesity makes it more difficult to conceive a child. We have many patients who have come to us for obesity treatment because they are having trouble getting pregnant. Weight loss has been shown to improve fertility in many cases. Another example where obesity can cause problems is in recovering from surgery. When compared to people of normal weight, people with obesity have a significantly higher chance of getting a wound infection, having a heart attack, or having nerve injury after surgery.
Effects on children
In many cases the health risks of obesity are discussed as they relate to adults. But obesity is a major health concerns with children and teens as well. Research has found that people who are obese as children are 5 times more likely to be obese as adults. Children with at least one parent who is obese, are also more likely to carry excess weight. These children are now being diagnosed with what used to be thought of as ‘adult diseases’ like sleep apnea and liver disease. There is some good news though: if a parent has bariatric surgery, studies have shown these positive effects can trickle down to their children as well. We hear these stories from our own patients too: with a focus on healthier meals and more movement, children can pick up the good habits of their parents and lose weight.
Our team does not focus on treating obesity because we simply want people to ‘look thinner’. We treat obesity because excess weight is linked to more diseases, earlier death, and affects the entire family. We have surgical and non-surgical options which can give patients a chance to turn their health around. If you’ve been diagnosed with a health condition linked to obesity, ask us if bariatric surgery can help. And if you’re concerned about future health conditions, that’s a perfect time to learn about your options. In many cases, the earlier you lose weight, the better. We’re happy to answer any questions you have. We can be reached at (855) 690-0565.