More than 1.4 billion adults were found to be overweight as per WHO global estimates in 2008, and obesity was named as the fifth largest killer.
The condition has only worsened ever since.
Obesity or being overweight is defined by the WHO as, “excessive or abnormal accumulation of fat that may impair health”.
Now, how can you make out whether a person is overweight or obese?
To know if a person is obese or overweight, we must calculate his BMI.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index and refers to the weight-height ratio.
BMI= Person’s weight (in kilograms) ÷ Square of his height (in meters)
As per the WHO standards,
Normal Range: 18.5- 24.9
Overweight: BMI ≥ 25
Obesity: BMI ≥ 30
Morbid Obesity: BMI ≥ 40
The condition in which the accumulation of fats inside the body becomes serious and begins to interfere with the functioning of the body, affecting the overall health or causing serious life threatening problems is called Morbid Obesity.
Health Consequences of Morbid Obesity
Any person gains weight is his/ her calorie intake is over and above the amount required by his body for normal functioning.
Simply put, Weight gain= Calories consumed> Calories used
Now, what are the consequences of morbid obesity and how can it become a killer?
Morbid obesity leads to:
· Cardiovascular disease, mainly heart disease and stroke. As we all know, this is THE leading cause of death across the globe every year, taking almost 17 million lives annually.
· Type II Diabetes, the silent killer which has assumed almost epidemic proportions. Researchers and scientists are afraid that is all poised to get deadlier and the number of people affected by it might double within the next 18 years.
· GERD or acidity
· Urinary stress incontinence
· Sleep apnea
· Many types of cancers, particularly breast, colon, kidney, esophageal and endometrial
Since morbid obesity is a serious disease which affects almost every organ of the body in some way or the other, it must be treated.
It is capable of producing several illnesses which might be life threatening. Not surprisingly, mortality rate among those affected by this problem is almost 12 times higher than it is among normal, healthy people.
Besides causing health problems, it can hamper normal life and cause severe frustration besides making the sufferer a butt of all jokes among friends and family.
To make matters worse, most people affected by this problem are unable to grapple with it on their own and are often clueless about the treatment options.
Fortunately for them, medical science has come up with surgical options which can help them deal with this problem and get fitter.
Treating Morbid Obesity Surgically
The best treatment option for morbid obesity today is bariatric surgery.
It helps patients lose weight by decreasing the amount of calories absorbed by the body from the intestines.
There are various types of bariatric surgeries available today and a careful choice has to be made between them, taking into account the patient’s eating habits, his overall lifestyle and the surgeon’s recommendations.
All these procedures can be performed laparoscopically.
· Lap Band
The laparoscopic lap band procedure involves setting a collar ot belt (called the lap band) around the upper portion of the stomach. This band, which is almost half an inch broad, creates a small pouch and also an outlet into the lower part of the stomach.
This band is adjustable and can be filled with sterile saline if desired. If that is done, the stomach becomes smaller.
· Gastric Bypass
This procedure involves splitting the stomach into two parts and forming a small gastric pouch inside it.
This pouch is then connected to the small intestine.
· Sleeve Gastrectomy
This procedure involves removal of almost 60% of the stomach using a laparoscope.
The remaining part of the stomach later takes the shape of a large tube or a sleeve, giving it this name.
If your BMI is more than 30 or more, you must talk to your doctor about it and consider the various surgical options for getting rid of the same, particularly if various other methods of weight loss like exercise, diet control and various diet charts have failed to yield the desired results.
Bariatric surgery helps in improving and solving Type 2 diabetes problems and heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, GERD, urinary incontinence, improving reproductive health and, last but not the least, getting rid of depression.