— Dr Arpan Dev Bhattacharya, Consultant Diabetologist and Endocrinology, Manipal Hospitals, Bangalore
Obesity has been on the rise in India for decades and there’s no denying this fact. Obesity has a direct impact on the quality of life and leads to serious health issues such as heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and diabetes.
People often associate obesity with overweight, but it is a much more complex condition. It is a chronic condition where an upsurge in body fat leads to problems in the way the body stores and utilizes energy.
People who are obese are prone to number of conditions that lead to heart and blood vessel diseases, including sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, Type2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis. Researches indicate that chronic childhood obesity may kick-start the process, triggering damage to heart or vessels years before you develop life-threatening heart conditions later.
According to many healthcare professionals and studies, if a person were to gain 10 kilograms, he or she might only see a slight increase in their blood pressure but, this can intensify their risk of heart disease by approximately 12 percent. High blood pressure is a common cause of heart attack, which is unfortunately very common among obese folks.
They need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to different tissues resulting in an increase in blood pressure. The body will also require additional pressure to move this blood around. It is widely known that obesity can cause a spike in bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A lesser known fact is that it can also lower good high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is vital for eliminating bad cholesterol and working to reduce the risk for heart disease.
Obesity increases the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure significantly, and these conditions are also closely linked with heart disease. Individuals with diabetes are said to be two to four times more likely to be at risk for heart disease.
Needless to say, extra weight becomes difficult to carry for the joints particularly the knees, so osteoarthritis of the knees are common in obese people, also success for recovery after knee replacement become difficult in obese people. Certain cancers like pancreatic cancer is more common in obese people than lean counterpart.
Fine-tuning the subtle balance between food intake and energy outflow can effectively decrease the risk of obesity-related diseases. One should expect to undergo full assessment of their overall health, nutrition, eating patterns, physical activity, and history of weight-loss efforts.
It is important to understand that obesity is not just caused by overeating. A lot goes into it, including genetics, environment and behaviour. It is a condition that’s tough to fight alone. A medically intensive program should be able to develop a treatment strategy that suits the lifestyle, preference, and condition together.
The program can cover review and adjustments of medications, nutrition support, increased physical activities, counselling and bariatric surgery, if you are a right candidate. It is advisable to seek an expert opinion from your doctor to address obesity at an early stage.