There are a number of ways your doctor can diagnose obesity. Here are some of the most common diagnostic tests and examinations that can help uncover this condition in an individual:

Causes and Symptoms of Obesity?

1. Physical Examination

By conducting a physical examination (checking heart rate, blood pressure and temperature as well as checking your heart, lungs and abdomen) your doctor can assess whether you are overweight or obese.

2. Calculating BMI

The biggest marker that can indicate obesity is the Body Mass Index. If your BMI is 30 or more, you can be sure that you are dealing with obesity. Even though BMI is one of the most common ways to measure obesity, it isn’t always accurate. BMI cannot distinguish between bone mass, muscle mass and body fat, so gauging whether excess fat is an issue is difficult to accurately detect.

3. Measuring Waist Circumference

Visceral fat stored around the waist can be measured in order to determine certain health risks affiliated with obesity and being overweight. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches for a woman and 40 inches for a man is above the normal measurement and should be considered a risk factor.

4. Blood Tests

Certain blood tests can be taken to test for cholesterol levels, liver function, fasting glucose levels and thyroid. The results of these tests can be useful in determining obesity.

Risks Associated With Obesity

Unfortunately, obesity can pose many health risks for the individual. Some of these risks include:

1. Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is required to lower blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your cells are unable to respond to insulin. For those with type 2 diabetes, too much glucose and sugar build up in the bloodstream. This can cause health complications and can even reduce the body’s ability to produce insulin.

2. Heart Disease

Heart disease is an umbrella term that refers to many different types of heart conditions. Some of other conditions include Arrhythmia (an irregular heart beat), Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), Cardiomyopathy (heart muscles harden or grown weak), Congenital heart defects (irregularities of the heart from birth), Coronary artery disease (caused by build-up of plaque of heart’s arteries), Heart infection (infection caused by bacteria or parasites).

3. High Blood Pressure

Also known as hypertension. High blood pressure occurs when blood pressure rises too high. Extra weight can raise the heart rate and reduce the body’s ability to transport blood through the vessels and higher pressure on the artery walls increases the blood pressure. It can be a precursor to heart attack or stroke.

4. Certain Cancers

Obesity can put someone at risk for certain types of cancers. These types include Meningioma (cancer in the tissue covering brain and spinal cord), Thyroid, Liver, Gallbladder, Upper Stomach, Pancreas, Ovary, and Kidney. Breast cancer, colon cancer and endometrial cancer are especially affiliated with obesity and should be monitored if the individual is considered obese.

5. Fatty Liver Disease

Also known as hepatic steatosis. Fatty liver disease occurs when fat is built up in the liver over time. Too much fat in the liver can cause inflammation which can lead to scarring (liver fibrosis), which can then lead to liver failure.

6. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition when breathing pauses repeatedly through the night while sleeping. Those with sleep apnea may feel tired throughout the day and wonder why. When left untreated, sleep apnea can cause health complications such as diabetes, heart disease and other serious illnesses.

How can Obesity be Treated?

Obesity is a complicated condition, and treating it can be complicated too. Although not impossible to treat, often multiple treatment should be applied at once to ensure the most success. There are a number of ways to approach treating obesity. Here are the best ways according to health professionals:

1. Diet Modification

One of the first modes of treatment involves food intake. Eating less calories (5001000 a day) may help in reducing weight. Eating foods that are low in fat and calories and are high in nutrients can potentially bring your body back into a healthy balance. It is rare, however, that an individual who is obese succeeds with this treatment alone. It is often the trend that after going on a low calorie diet, the weight is regained about 2 years later.

2. Exercise

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help you lose weight. Daily physical activity along with correct diet modifications can even improve your metabolism and help your body regulate weight more easily. Something as simple as taking the stairs at work, walking while talking on the phone – can make a big difference.

How to Prevent Obesity

At the end of the day, eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise is the best way to prevent obesity. Here are some ways to prevent this condition:

1. Eat More “Good” Fat

Avoiding weight gain doesn’t mean completely avoiding fat. On the contrary, polyunsatured fats such as omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon and nuts can actually lower cholesterol and obesity risk.

2. Eat Low Glycemic Foods

Eating low-glycemic foods that do not cause blood sugar spikes such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can keep your blood sugar levels regulated and help maintain a healthy body weight.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercising 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week is important to maintain a healthy body weight. In addition to aerobic exercise, engaging in a weight training regime will train your muscles and prime your metabolism for healthy weight loss.

4. Reduce Stress

Stress can cause you to develop unhealthy eating patterns such as emotional eating and eating at irregular times. When feeling stressed, instead of reaching for a hamburger, try stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, yoga or socializing.

Obesity differs from being simply overweight in that it has a higher risk factor for certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver disease. Obesity can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, diet, physical activity, medications, and pre-existing medical conditions. The symptoms of obesity can include breathlessness, excessive sweating and lack of confidence.
One can fight back obesity by improving lifestyle, following a healthy diet, regular exercises, having plenty of water, and enough sleep helps to achieve the set target. Obesity can be prevented with the right diet and exercise routine. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar, fat and excess calories and eating foods that are high in “good” fats, fibre and nutrients can lower cholesterol and decrease obesity risk.

Devika Khare
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