About Obesity

About Obesity

This page outlines useful information about obesity for patients who have been fighting weight gain for many years without success.

Being informed can help you make a decision about your health and assist you in taking the first steps in your weight loss journey.

What is obesity?

Obesity occurs when an individual’s body weight is in excess of the healthy range for their height leading to a high percentage of body fat.

What are the causes of obesity?

Weight gain and long term obesity can be caused by a number of factors:

  • Lack of exercise.
  • Poor diet.

What are the symptoms of obesity?

Clinical obesity and weight gain can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Some symptoms or side effects of obesity include:

  • Low back pain or Backaches.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Joint pain (especially weight bearing knee and hip joints).
  • Low confidence or self-esteem.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Snoring or Sleep Apnoea.

Obesity Diagnosis

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most commonly used method for determining a patient’s weight category. The BMI is calculated by measuring the height and weight of the patient.

Other methods for diagnoses include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Physical exam.
  • Review of family history.
  • Waist measurement.

A GP may ask additional questions about your lifestyle and any potential underlying health issues.

What is Morbid Obesity?

If an individual has a BMI of over 35 they are considered to be obese. Other obesity measures are when a patient’s weight is 30kg or more above his or her health weight.

A patient is considered to be morbidly obese when either of the above conditions are met and at least one other obesity-related health conditions (co-morbidity) exists.

  • Arthritis
  • Sleep Apnea
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Venous Stasis Disease (Collection of Blood in the Lower Limbs)
  • Soft Tissue Infections
  • Reflux disease
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS)
  • Morbidly obese patients may qualify for weight loss surgery.

Why should I treat my obesity?

If left untreated, obesity can lead to a number of serious health issues and have a serious impact on your social life and financial stability.

Medical issues caused by obesity

Patients who struggle with obesity often face the possibility of developing other medical conditions. For example, people with morbid obesity (a BMI of over 40) frequently typically struggle with one or more of the following health issues:

  • Arthritis
  • Certain cancers
  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Gallbladder disorder
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Respiratory disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Type two diabetes

Social issues caused by obesity

Obesity and morbid obesity can also negatively impact the way you interact with others and feel about yourself. For example, patients may notice the following developments in their social lives:

  • Clothing limitations
  • Clumsiness
  • Daily life, hygiene, sanitation limitations
  • Walking, climbing, public transport limitations
  • Withdrawal from social activities and socialising

Psychological conditions caused by obesity

Issues with weight can also have a psychological effect on patients. Common psychological disorders associated with weight gain and obesity include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders

If you are struggle with obesity and have been diagnosed with any of these conditions you should seek medical advice from your doctor and discuss options for treatment of your obesity.

Treatment Options for Obesity?

There are a number of non-surgical and surgical treatment options for obesity available for those who want to treat their obesity.

Nonsurgical treatments

Nonsurgical treatments are frequently recommended for people who want to lose a few kilograms. For the patients with morbid obesity these weight loss methods can be challenging and non-permanent, resulting in cycle of weight loss and then gain. This yo-yoing can have serious physical and mental implications for patients struggling with obesity.

Non surgical treatments include:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Therapy
  • Medication

Surgical Treatment

For individuals suffering from morbid obesity or long term issues associated with excess weight, bariatric (weight loss) surgery can be an effective treatment.