What is obesity?
Obesity is not only a cosmetic problem but a chronic illness that is associated with reduced quality of life and sequelae. It can be defined as a build-up of adipose tissue in your body that goes beyond the normal level.Based on the latest estimates in European Union countries, overweight affects 30-70% of adults, while obesity affects 10-30%.
Key Facts about Obesity
Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more is classified as obesity.
Common symptoms include:
- Strakes fat accumulation in the body
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
- Impairment in daily life
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Joint problems
- Back problems
- Kidney stones
- Psychological problems
- Genetic predisposition
- Unhealthy eating behavior
- Lack of exercise
- Slow metabolism
- Other diseases
- Nutritional and exercise therapy
- Behavioral therapy
The Body Mass Index (BMI)
The Body Mass Index or BMI is used to measure obesity. It is calculated by dividing the weight by the square of the height in meters. In other words, it combines a person's weight with their height. You are overweight if your BMI is 25 to 29.9, but having a BMI of 30 or higher is classified as obesity, according to the WHO guidelines. You become obese in the long term if you supply your body with more energy than it uses.
Classification of obesity
- Obesity grade 1: a BMI of 30 to about 34.
- Obesity grade 2: a BMI of 35 to 40
- Obesity grade 3: a BMI over 40
Obesity permagna or obesity grade 3
From a BMI of 40, one speaks of obesity permagna and/or obesity grade 3. The quality of life of those affected is severely restricted, as even walking and sitting become difficult. In the case of grade 3 obesity, it is essential to consult a doctor to find the appropriate treatment that may include therapy or even surgery.
The more overweight you are and the longer this persists, the greater the physical complaints and the risk of complications increase. If you are slightly overweight, you can be fit and healthy, which is rarely the case with obese people.
The main symptom is the excessive accumulation of fat, as well as the stress it puts on the body to provide it with nutrients. This leads to secondary health complications.
Other major symptoms include:
- Fat distribution
The grade of severity depends on what part of your body the fat accumulates. For instance, the accumulation around the abdominal region is particularly harmful. Also, it is very typical in men. In women, the fat accumulates mostly on the hips. The rule of thumb says that a waist circumference of over 80 cm in women and over 94 cm in men is risky. The risk of suffering from a stroke or type 2 diabetes increases along with the fat accumulation.
- Reduced physical performance
The cardiovascular system is particularly affected by obesity and even low physical effort becomes difficult. The reduced performance is also noticeable through shortness of breath. This happens when the heart and lungs cannot compensate for the oxygen requirement, resulting in a lack of oxygen in the blood.
Your musculoskeletal system is also very affected when you suffer from obesity. For instance, your joints wear out prematurely. Moreover, arthritis can occur, especially in the knees, hips, and ankles or the intervertebral discs.
- Increased sweating
Due to the weight-related physical exertion, many people with obesity sweat excessively.
- Reflux heartburn
The fat can also press on the digestive organs and stomach, pushing oxygen back onto the esophagus, causing heartburn.
- Varicose veins and thrombosis
Obese people often develop varicose veins, which pose an increased risk of blood clots in the leg veins.
Again, obesity is one of the most important risk factors. Because obese people often have high cholesterol, gallstones are more likely to form.
The most common causes of obesity include:
The more unhealthy foods you eat, the more likely you are to become obese. However, there are a lot of other factors involved besides nutrition.
Lack of exercise
If you eat more than you consume, you gain weight. This means that if you are reluctant to move, you should eat accordingly. Exercising is important because you consume more calories when you move, but even after you stop, your body uses more energy for a while than usual. Muscles also consume more energy at rest than fat tissue, for example. If the muscle mass drops, so does the energy requirement.
Metabolism plays an equally important role. However, everyone's metabolism works at a different speed. Fast metabolism allows you to eat more calories, while still burning fat and dropping weight. Slow metabolism is not ideal when you try to lose weight, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Genes also play a major role when it comes to obesity. However, it is unclear how many of them are involved in its creation. So far, about 100 genes are known to lead to obesity. The FTO gene, which is responsible for controlling appetite, is one of the most important genes in obesity research.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: Around four to 12% of women suffer from ovarian cyst disease. One of the main symptoms is obesity and cycle disorders.
- Cushing's disease. When you suffer from this disease, a large amount of cortisone is released by the adrenal glands. To clarify, cortisone causes weight gain.
- Underactive thyroid. With an underactive thyroid, energy expenditure is lower than normal.
- Testosterone deficiency in men. Too little testosterone promotes fat storage in men.
- Mental illness: Obesity is also more common in people who suffer from depression or anxiety.
To overcome obesity, it is important to reduce weight permanently and normalize energy metabolism. This requires a radical lifestyle change, combined with other treatments. Obesity therapy is always based on a combination of diet, exercise, behavioral therapy and possibly medication or stomach reduction.
Medicines to treat obesity
Drug treatment is necessary only in patients who do not lose enough weight despite diet and physical activity. After you ingest fat from your food, enzymes in your stomach and intestines break down the fat into various smaller components.
Surgical therapy options
Surgery is only considered in cases of extreme obesity or a BMI of over 40 after other therapy options have been exhausted. There are different methods, such as:
- Stomach stapling
- Gastric Bypass
- Reduced gastric entrance
The prospects of success in treatment depend heavily on your motivation and support. The biggest challenge is to keep the weight off after losing weight.
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You can apply for weight loss support treatment online at Apomeds. To do this, fill out an online diagnostic sheet that will be reviewed by our doctors. After that, we will issue you with an electronic prescription and send it directly to the mail-order pharmacy. The mail-order pharmacy will then deliver the medication directly to your home, with a courier service. More information on how Apomeds works can be found here.