Overweight and Obese
Obesity refers to body weight that is much greater than the accepted range. People who are obese also have a much higher BMI (Body Mass Index) than those at an ideal weight. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. Adults with a BMI greater than or equal to 30 are considered obese, while those with a BMI between 25-30 are considered overweight.
Presently, 34 percent of adults in the United States are considered obese and an equal number is considered overweight. Therefore, approximately 2/3 of our population is either overweight or obese and this number continues to grow each decade.
Obesity creates a significant threat to health. The added weight puts considerable stress on all parts of the body and can contribute to a range of significant medical problems if not treated. Some of these include:
- Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Heightened inflammatory response
- Certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Disability from employment
Obesity increases the production and release of inflammatory cells in the body which can lead to many of the conditions listed above. Extreme obesity can also lead to a gradual decrease in the level of oxygen in your blood, a condition called hypoxemia. Decreased blood oxygen levels and sleep apnea may cause a person to feel sleepy during the day. These conditions may also lead to high blood pressure and pulmonary hypertension. In extreme cases, especially when left untreated, this can lead to right-sided heart failure and, ultimately, death.
The most common causes of weight gain and obesity are:
- Overeating is the most common cause of obesity and, specifically, eating too many ‘empty’ calories, especially sugar, processed foods and refined carbohydrates.
- An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause obesity or weight gain. Other symptoms include dry skin and hair, chronic constipation, fatigue and hair loss.
- Food allergy or intolerance
- Insulin resistance
- Some antidepressants and antipsychotic medications
- Genetic factors
- Sedentary lifestyle/lack of exercise
Every year, there is a new ‘fad’ diet or pill that promises to help us lose weight with little or no effort. Anyone who has struggled to lose weight will tell you– they do not work long term. Generally, ‘diet pills’ work by suppressing appetite or blocking fat absorption. They do this by altering the normal functions of the body, sometimes even changing the levels of the chemicals in the brain that control mood and appetite. Any time a pill alters the natural function of the body, there will be side effects. With diet pills, usually means effects such as heart palpitations, anxiety, high blood pressure, addiction, irregular heartbeats, blurred vision, headaches, insomnia, depression, dizziness and more.
Drugs that work by blocking the absorption of fat can cause diarrhea, bowel incontinence, and soiling. Pleasant, isn’t it? By blocking the absorption of fat, the user is unintentionally blocking the absorption of vital nutrients and vitamins, and may end up with a vitamin deficiency, as well, which can cause a whole host of other problems, long term.
A good rule of thumb for weight loss–if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Weight loss should not come at the expense of your health.
At the Magaziner Center, we believe that in order to combat obesity effectively, we must first discover the cause of the weight gain. For some, it may be as simple as overeating and not getting enough exercise. For others, there could be a treatable thyroid issue. We first use a series of extremely thorough blood and urine tests to determine exactly what is happening in the body. We understand that every patient is unique and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for weight loss.
We analyze the blood test results to look for thyroid or endocrine problems that could have led to weight gain and may be inhibiting a patient from taking it off. Because food sensitives can contribute to obesity we test patients’ reaction to food allergens. If an allergy or sensitivity is discovered, we will use sublingual desensitization to desensitize the patient to that food. If hypothyroidism is discovered, we will utilize natural thyroid agents to stimulate the production of thyroid hormone as a first step.
For the long run, we help our patients understand food choices and their impact on the body. We have our patients work with our dietary and lifestyle counselors on an ongoing basis to help determine the individual needs for each patient. We guide each patient so that he/she can be successful and reach his/her ideal body weight.
Our goal is to help our patients maintain their weight loss for a lifetime, by educating them on proper nutrition and changing body chemistry to reduce cravings.