As we go forward in the 21 st century, overweight and obesity are becoming a global problem of epidemic proportions. The ICMR has estimated that as many as 20% of people in Maharashtra are obese!
And the rising incidence of obesity is of huge medical concern because obesity is about much, much more than just weight. Measurement of weight is important because it allows us to put a number on the problem
Obesity causes Diabetes because fat cells are very resistant to the effects of insulin that is made and released in our bodies. India is predicted to become the diabetes capital of the world by 2020. A lot of the predisposition is genetic and there is little we can do to change our genes! But obesity is the single important factor that we can change to protect ourselves from the dangers of diabetes.
Obesity leads to not only very high levels of cholesterol in blood but it also greatly increases the proportion of “bad” fats versus the “good” fats. The greatest danger of these altered fat levels is high risk of heart attacks.
This is really important and scientifically established but not well known! Obesity increases the risk of many different cancers - particularly cancer of the colon or large bowel, breast cancer and kidney cancer.
Obesity causes real harm to the reproductive life of ladies. Obese ladies are prone to develop a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and this makes them infertile. Obese ladies are at very high risk of developing complications during pregnancy and delivery with danger to the life of the mother and the baby.
The story-book picture of the jolly fat person is usually not true – in fact, obesity causes enormous mental health burden for the individual himself and sometimes also for near and dear ones.
Sadly, obese people are at very high risk of dying at an early age – usually from sudden, massive heart attack. There is conclusive scientific information that established this fact. For example, a 30 year old man with BMI greater than 40 will die 13 years sooner than his normal-weight counterpart.
Obesity is not about looking good. It is about your health, your life. And, for all the reasons that I’ve just listed, and many more, do not ignore obesity – it is a slow-killer and it is easy to push it to the back in the rush of daily life.
It is nice to have a body composition analysis but it is not essential - obesity can be very simply identified by a formula that needs your weight and height. We can do that for you here – or, just search for a BMI calculator on Google and put in your measurements.
We all understand that life-style modification is the critical issue – a healthy diet and regular exercise. But, what we must accept is that once people have crossed certain limits of obesity they cannot make the necessary life-style changes without very specific help – and that help is surgery!
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence in the UK is the prominent medical guidance-setting organisation in the world. NICE has done a huge amount of work on obesity management and you could look at this on their website. The bottom-line is: at present, surgery is the only solution for severe obesity. Once severe obesity has set in, life-style change, on its own, just does not work.
So, who should very seriously consider having an operation?