Are you as Healthy as you Think?

It is common knowledge that there is an obesity epidemic in the United States. It is also common knowledge that multiple health problems, including diabetes, are direct results of obesity. Annual expenses in this country directly resulting from the rampant occurrence of obesity, including health care costs, decreased productivity, weight loss products, and disabilities related to obesity are estimated at 100 billion dollars per year.

Everyone knows the above information. What is less common knowledge is exactly how obesity is defined in medical terms, and how to tell the difference between someone who could merely “stand to lose a few pounds,” and someone who is obese.

Simply put, obesity is characterized as having too much body fat. There is a difference between someone having too much fat and having too much overall weight. For example, muscle weighs more than fat, so professional bodybuilders will weigh more than a merely trim healthy individual of the same height. Conversely, members of a population such as the elderly, who have reduced musculature, may underestimate how much body fat they have because they have lost weight overall.

The BMI, or Body Mass Index, does not take into account this variation. However, for most people, it serves as a reasonable estimation to determine if they have an appropriate amount of body fat. Ask your health care provider to help you determine your BMI and see where you fit in. The BMI is calculated by taking one’s weight in kilograms, dividing it by the square of one’s height in meters. Excess fat in the area of the waist is associated with more morbidity than fat in the area of the hips. The risks for the conditions mentioned below are higher in men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches, and for women greater than 30 inches.

Here is a brief informal list of BMIs and their relative labels:

• 20 or below: Underweight
• 22: Optimal-associated with the lowest mortality rate.
• 25-30: Overweight
• 30-40: Obese
• 40-50: Severely Obese
• 50-60: Morbidly Obese
• 60 and over: Super Obese.

Some of the problems associated with obesity are as follows:

1.) Cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks, Atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and heart failure
2.) Pulmonary Disorders, such as Asthma and Sleep Apnea
3.) Gastroenterological Disorders, such as Gallbladder Disease, Fatty Liver, Gastroesophogeal Reflux
4.) Neurological Complications, such as Stroke
5.) Certain malignancies (cancers)
6.) Depression
7.) Degenerative Arthritis
8.) Reproductive issues such as Polycystic Ovary Disease and Stress Incontinence
9.) A higher surgical risk from wound infections, phlebitis, pulmonary embolisms, and pneumonia
10.) Dysmetabolic Syndrome, including Diabetes Type II, Hypertension, high triglycrides, and low HDL (low “good cholesterol”)

There is some good news for people with diabetes who also suffer from obesity. As you treat your diabetes by utilizing diet and exercise to achieve your weight loss goals, you may lower your risk of many of the complications from obesity while increasing your control over diabetes. A weight loss of only 10-15 lbs. may make a significant difference. If you think you may have a weight problem, discuss it with your health care provider.

MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for his or her own situation, or if her or she has any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

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2 Responses to Are you as Healthy as you Think?

  1. Dr. Sybil Kramer says:

    Thank you for visiting our website and asking this question. I will answer this briefly and then follow up with a long blog post about this. People with diabetes type 2, have resistance to incretins. These hormones have beneficial effects for people with diabetes. They will delay gastric emptying, causing food to be absorbed much slower. They help protect the beta cells (cells that produce insulin) and improve their ability to secrete insulin in response to glucose. They hamper the inappropriate increase in secretion of glucagon after a meal and by doing so help decrease glucose release from the liver. They also decrease appetite. There are two types of incretin therapies. The first one, given by injection, will provide large amounts of these chemicals and overcome the incretin resistance. There is also an oral formulation which blocks the body’s ability to clear their natural incretins, thus increasing the level. The oral formulation has fewer side affects but is not as affective as the injectable ones. The injectable ones may also cause nausea and vomiting and have the added benefit of promoting weight loss. When used by themselves, these medications do not cause hypoglycemia. I usually choose the injectable formulation for people with diabetes type 2 who have higher A1Cs, need to lose weight, do not have GI problems and are willing to use them. For people who need a smaller imporvement in the A1C, have GI problems, or are unwilling to learn how to use the shots, I use the oral formulation. thanks so much, Sybil

  2. Diane Chapman says:

    What are the differences between the incretin therapies available?

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