The vast majority of people in this country are now overweight or obese. It also seems to be indiscriminate of age, gender and ethnicity, although we do see a higher prevalence in those of lower educational and socioeconomic achievements. Obesity is a true pandemic, however, and it is related to huge variety of other medical conditions, many of which can be lethal. The strain this is placing on healthcare systems across the world is tremendous. Most worrying, obesity is now so prevalent that the life expectancy of this generation is shorter than that of the previous generation, for the first time in human history.
Treatment Options Available
People who are obese must always start by looking at their personal lifestyle and behavior. While genetics and medication may play a role in someone’s chance of becoming obese, it is always down to eating too much and not moving enough. If you do have certain genes or medical conditions, or take medication, that increase your chance of being obese, you have the choice to adapt your lifestyle to reduce that chance. It is the fact that we don’t adapt our lifestyle that is causing obesity.
The mathematical formulation of weight loss and weight gain is very simple: if the amount of calories you consume are higher than the amount of calories you use, you will gain weight and vice versa. However, this is a very simplistic view, because actually lowering the amount of calories you eat and getting more active is a lot harder than it may seem. This is due to a number of psychological factors in the main.
First of all, people who are obese often have low self-esteem and do not want to be seen in public, particularly not in fitness centers. Additionally, they may be too heavy to actually engage in any type of physical activity. Secondly, because of their low self-esteem and the stigma that is place on them by society, they often suffer from depression. Many people who are depressed comfort eat, which makes the problem even worse.
Because the obesity epidemic is now so wide-spread, numerous surgical options also exist, in varying degrees of invasiveness. One of the more popular options right now is the gastric balloon. This is a short term solution, whereby a deflated balloon is inserted into the stomach, after which it is filled with a saline solution, essentially lowering the amount of space that is available for food. Usually, the balloon remains in place for around six months.
After the six months period, further intervention is generally required. For those who are morbidly obese, the next step is usually to have a more invasive type of surgery, such as a gastric bypass or lap band. The balloon is used to kick start weight loss, enabling people to get out of the danger zone. The morbidly obese, for instance, can often not be anesthetized due to the weight on their internal organs, meaning surgery like the gastric bypass is not available.