Medical Aspects of Obesity

We are currently experiencing an epidemic of obesity. Everywhere we look we read about the research and statistics supporting the dramic rise in obesity rates throughout the Western world. For example, thirty-five percent of men and twenty-seven percent of women in Canada were found to be obese (defined as persons having a Body Mass Index of greater than 27).

The economic burden of obesity is enormous. In 1995 it was estimated that the direct health care costs related to obesity (defined as a B<I of greater than 29) in the United States, was a whopping $51.64 billion dollars. In other words, the medical fall out from obesity was eating up 5.7% of the nations health care expenditure. To put this in perspective, the direct economic impact of obesity on health care expenditure is 1.25 times greater than that of coronary artery disease and 2.7 times greater than that of hypertension.

The risks of being overweight include developing hypertension, dyslipidemia or type 2 diabetes. Obesity is known to contribute directly and indirectly to a number of serious medical conditions.

  • Increased morbidity and mortality
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Dsylipidemia-i.e.-Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Hypoalphalipoproteinemia
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Altered Homeostasis via increased coagualbity and impaired fibrinolysis
  • Respiratory Diseases Via Reduced Lung Function and Sleep apnea
  • Gastrointestinal Abnormalities- Reflex
  • Gall Bladder Disease
  • Non-alcoholic steathepatitis (fatty liver)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hyperurecemia
  • Cancers- ovarian, breast, cervical, prostate, gallbladder, pancreatic, liver, renal

In addition to all of these life threatening diseases, persons struggling with obesity report many other non-life threatening but life-hassling aspects from being very over weight. For example, people report not being able to walk short distances, find furniture comfortable to sit in, clothes to fit into, excessive sweating, and difficulty manourvering in isle ways. Patients also report difficulty completing small taken-for-granted tasks such as tying ones shoes, playing with their children, having a bath, and getting in and out of the car.

The number of limitations obesity places on a person is overwhelming.

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