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Your Health and Body weight - I … (July, 2006)

Is it really something serious if you are obese? Or is it that it is not too harmful if you exceed the normal limits of body weight? As in many other fields in medicine, there are wide ranges of opinion among the doctors. After all we all know that “ No two doctors and no two lawyers agree on any matter!”

The whole problem of obesity is blown out of proportion by interested parties – the nutrition specialists and trade, the pharmaceutical lobby and the doctors themselves simply toeing the lines of these agencies for mutual benefit! The beauty business and the pressures of modern life to conform to a slim figure is an additional inherent craze in present day high society people.

Need for management of various degrees of obesity is also related to specific cause for the obesity and the effect of this obesity on various health parameters. There are quite a few causes for this anomaly wherein several other associated ailment/disease are serious enough to cry for treatment. In association with “syndrome X”, PCOD, Type II diabetes, Hypothyroidism etc we need to take a holistic approach in the control of obesity.

Causes of obesity:
A common cause is simply the type of life led by the present generation, consisting of lack of any kind of exercise and a sedentary life style. They are too busy to even think of any physical workout and engaged in the rat race of modern materialistic life.

A second cause in a considerable proportion of overweight people is a genetic predisposition, often associated with syndrome complexes like PCOD in women and hypogonadism and gynaecomastia in men.

Regular consumption of “high glycaemic” food items results in sudden surge of post prandial blood sugar and is a precursor to various metabolic abnormalities and obesity too.

Illnesses or diseases like hypothyroidism and diseases of adrenal glands are usually associated with overweight problems.

A stress prone person is also more likely to be obese. Lack of sleep on a regular basis and over a long term period, is likely to lead to overweight situation.

Weight cycling is repeated half hearted attempts at weight reduction leading to its becoming ineffective and the subject becoming resistently obese.

A kind of eating disorder called “Binge Eating Disorder” (B.E.D) wherein a person compulsively goes into cycles of severe overeating is another not uncommon cause of obesity.

When do we need to seek medical advice for obesity?
One must suspect something abnormal if one’s child looks too plumpy and also seems to be too fond of eating and overeating as compared to his/her peers.

Anyone, an adult who obviously looks overweight needs to be evaluated, by a complete medical check up.

An overweight girl who has some irregular periods needs to be evaluated; it is particularly ominous if she also has excess hairs in abnormal places.

Any young Diabetic person with overweight problems needs special attention to his/her weight excess too.

A young boy who not only looks too plumpy, but also has more prominence of breast region and possibly also sparse facial hairs needs urgent medical evaluation.

When gross obesity (morbid obesity) interferes with day to day chores and one’s profession, obviously such subjects need medical attention to tackle obesity.

Associated causes for obesity if present has to be tackled at its root cause itself.

Complicating medical diseases or anomalies like high BP, Heart Disease, high blood Cholesterol, Diabetes etc which are either the result or cause of obesity are definite indications for medical treatment to control all these and obesity too.

Request by extremely health conscious individuals to help them conform to certain standards of form and figure may be taken up for treatment on case by case basis.

Some specific diseases which are the causes of obesity, general guidelines for managing the problem including some details of medicines and surgery will be described in our future issues of Newsletters on this subject.

Best wishes for good health and happiness.

Dr. M.Mohan Rao, MBBS,MS,FICS,MCH,

Director & Senior Surgeon (Retired but not tired),
Dr. U Mohan Rau Memorial Hospital.


Updated on 01.07.2006.

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