Obesity means an excess fat accumulation in the body. There is always an optimal weight for every age and sex. In obesity, this weight exceeds the upper limit of normal by 30%.
Morbid obesity is a condition wherein people are overweight by 45 kilos to what is normal for their age and sex.
Obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration. It is a medical condition associated with illness and disability. It can lead to: -
• High blood pressures
• Heart diseases like coronary heart diseases (CHD)
• Diseases of gall bladder
• Sleep apnea plus other respiratory problems
• Increased risks for many cancerous conditions in both men and women.
Causes of obesity
Genetic & Environment
Weight gain and obesity are controlled by genes.
However there are many instances where environmental conditions overwhelm the action of genes in obesity. Famines are known to prevent obesity even in those most prone to it genetically.
A number of conditions have been identified where obesity is a feature right from birth. In these children, along with obesity there are other symptoms that help differentiating these conditions from each other.
Race and Socio-economic conditions
It is varied among persons depending on their age, gender, race, income and smoking.
In the developed countries, obesity is more prevalent among people in the lower socio-economic strata where as, in developing countries, obesity is a problem more seen within the higher socio-economic strata.
• Psychotic Drugs
o There are four major groups of drugs which can cause obesity: Benzodiazepines, Lithium, Antidepressants, Antipsychotic drugs
• Sulphonyl urea agents (used in treatments of diabetes)
The increased demand for energy and the heightened metabolic activity of the body on account of the drastic hormonal changes, predispose pregnant women to weight gain and obesity. Women are known to gain as much as 12 to 16 kilos during pregnancy.
Tumors arising in the brain like craniopharyngeomas -> which is a non-malignant tumor, most commonly occurring in children (5-15 age group) and presenting with obesity, lethargy, poor memory and recurrent headaches.
• Endocrine disorders
Disorders affecting the hormone producing plus secreting glands of the body are called endocrine disorders.
o Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome -> a condition where a woman’s sex hormones get out of balance. There is an abnormal increase in the production of the male hormones (androgens) causing obesity, irregular periods, acne, hair loss from the scalp but increased body hair etc.
o Underactive thyroid disorder -> can cause obesity inspite of loss of appetite.
o Cushing’s syndrome -> a disorder in which the body produces excess cortisols resulting in obesity along with other symptoms of fatigue, weakness, facial flushing, round (moon) face, etc.
• OBESITY measurement
Done by Body Mass Index (BMI) calcultor. This number is a ratio of a person’s weight (in kilograms) to his height (in meter square). BMI from 30 up to 35 indicate obesity. For adults above 35, a BMI greater than 27 is considered obese.
BMI less than 19 indicates mal-nutrition, while people with BMIs 25 up to 30 are considered overweight for their age and sex. BMI over 40 suggests morbid obesity.
The BMI is a very sensitive indicator of obesity for people between the ages of 19 and 70 years.
Still, BMI is unsuitable in:
• Elderly people with general debility.
• Deformities of the spine like scoliosis (lateral deviation of the backbones) or kyphosis (forward deviation of the backbone)
• Children growing up very fast.
• Pregnant or lactating women.
• Body builders and athletes
• Scientists use other, more sensitive methods to assess obesity.
• CT & MRI Scans
These are non-invasive methods which can assess the collection of fat cells. They are very reliable and identify the precise points of fat collection in the body.
• Abdomino-Gluteal Ratio/Waist Hip Ratio (WHR)
This measures the proportion of fat distribution around the torso. These measurements have a strong correlation with general health and fertility. It is optimal for men to have a ratio of 0.9. A ratio of 0.7 in women is considered very healthy. Ratios in women exceeding 0.9 and in men exceeding 1.0 imply obesity. WHR is a better tool for assessing a person’s risk for heart attack than the BMI.
The BMI is of limited use in certain occasions. Many conditions render the BMI an unsuitable tool for health assessment. As a person accumulates fat in his body, fats are first deposited under the skin before being deposited around internal organs. Instruments that measure the fat deposited under the skin are called ‘skin calipers’.
• Lesser used methods that scientists employ to study obesity are:
• Densitometry -> where weight is measured under water
• Water dilution methods
Symptoms of Obesity
The following are some of the symptoms of Obesity:
According to The world health organization (WHO) , obesity is metabolic disorder.
Signs and symptoms are:
• All obese persons do not develop diabetes, but 80% of diabetics are obese. Diabetes not responding to good line of treatment.
• Trouble conceiving. Impotence and infertility are conditions worsened by obesity.
• The menstrual cycles are irregular.
• Recently diagnosed high blood pressure or your existing high pressures are not responding well to medications.
• Increased daytime sleepiness. Even sleep apnea (snoring).
• Obesity increases chances of skin infections. Fungal infections are common in skin folds of the abdomen, torso and lower limbs.
• In some cases Uric Acid content in blood rises sufficiently to cause gout.
• The weight bearing joints of the body -> back bones, knees, ankles etc. can suffer from joint inflammation (osteoarthritis).
• Pains in the back and knee are common complaints associated with obesity.
• Young Children who are obese are more prone to joint problems, especially of the knee joints and lower limbs.
• Obesity can cause hemodynamic changes that resulting in stasis of blood flow especially in the lower limbs which lead to varicose veins.
Homeopathic treatment for Obesity
Changing diet and behavior.
Introducing Exercise, Drugs and surgery (last option)
Dietary + Life style changes
Excess calories consumed end-up being stored as fat. A good diet plan must have foods high in nutritive value and low in empty calories.
Give up the idea of starving yourself. Crash diets are not good. There is progressive weakness.
Instead, try to eat right kind of foods. The important goal is ‘healthier weight’ and not ‘ideal weight’.
• Don’t avoid carbohydrates -have less of simple carbohydrates (sugars) and consume more of complex carbohydrates - Wheat germ, bran, oats, cornmeal, maize, buckwheat and barley are all excellent sources of complex carbohydrates.
These foods are best consumed as they are that is – in their natural states.
• complex carbohydrates routinely, there are plenty of choices you may opt for
o pasta and its varieties
o whole grain cereals
o shredded wheat
o porridge oats
o oat cakes
o brown rice
o brown bread
o pitta bread
• Rapid weight loses generally mean you are losing a lot of proteins and body fluids. This eventually depletes your body’s muscle mass and leading to exhaustion. The ideal diet will enable the body to burn fat while conserving muscle proteins.
• Add more high fiber foods. Vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains are high in fibers which prevent excess absorption of carbohydrates from the intestines.
Have plenty of red, yellow and orange fruits which are high in antioxidants.
• Avoid having animal fats. It has saturated fats which leads to high blood pressures and diabetes. Animal fats are very rich in cholesterols which can cause heart diseases along with obesity.
• Drink plenty of water. Recent studies have shown that simply having more water can increase your metabolic rates thus help in burning more calories in the form of fat.
• Maintain a balance between caloric intake and energy expenditure.
o Start being more active.
o Walk more, use the car less often.
o Try cycling.
o Climb stairs instead of always using the elevators.
o Pursue active sports when home rather than watching television or surfing the net.
• When eat in restaurant, Try having starters instead of heavy desserts. Avoid large servings, try to split your dish with a friend.
• Eat a variety of foods. Try and get your vitamin and mineral nutrients from food and not through supplements.
• Have adequate amounts of calcium. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth.
The most commonly used drugs are:
• 90 These drugs act by suppressing the appeties, increasing the body metabolism and preventing the absorption of fats from the digestive system.
Performed only where all other methods to lose weight fail. There is stomach size reduction or stomach bypass connecting the food pipe to the small intestine.
Common procedures include gastric bypass, vertical banding and gastroplasty.
Homeopathic Treatment for Obesity:
Homeopathic approach to the treatment of Obesity entails treating the underlying cause like if obesity is due to hormonal disorders such as Hypothyroidism, it calls for the treatment for the same. Besides the treatment, disciplines diet habit and exercise schedule form important part of the treatment.< br>
Treated cases on Obesity