What Is Morbid Obesity? Its Symptoms And Treatment Options

Morbid obesity is considered to be a very serious condition, which can interfere with the ability of an individual to perform basic physical functions like walking, breathing, etc. Further, morbid obesity increases the risk of developing a host of medical conditions including diabetes, blood pressure, cardiac disease, osteoarthritis, etc. Fortunately morbid obesity symptoms can be treated with an exercise regimen and bariatric surgery.

The normal body mass index of an individual ranges between 20-25. An individual is diagnosed of morbid obesity when the body mass index or BMI is 40 or more. Alternately, an individual may be referred to as morbidly obese, if his/her weight is 100 pounds more than the ideal weight for age or height.

Morbid obesity has emerged as a public health crisis, not only in the western world but also across the developing countries.  An urgent attention is required for the management of obesity, as it has a significant impact on the morbidity and economic productivity of a nation.

Body Mass Index And Morbidly Obese

Morbid obesity has a direct impact on the life expectancy of an individual.

A morbidly obese person is prone to a host of ailments, which eventually result in a shorter life span. There is an increasing need to address to morbid obesity, especially in the western world.

The BMI also referred to as the Quetelet index, is used to measure the degree of fat in the body, which is an important way to detect morbid obesity. Body Mass Index is computed in by dividing the weight of an individual to the square of his height, when weight is in kilograms and height in meters.

Morbid obesity refers to a condition, when the BMI is over 40, which should ideally be in the range of 20-24. Morbid obesity hampers the ability of an individual to perform routine functions including breathing, walking, etc and also increases the risk of developing a host of medical conditions ranging from osteoarthritis to cardiac disorders.

Signs And Symptoms Of Morbid Obesity

Morbid obesity is usually presented in the form of problems associated with excessive weight. An individual with morbid obesity is often associated with higher intake of food/calories and lower activity levels. There are a host of other manifestations of morbid obesity,

  • Morbid obesity may be associated with a host of respiratory disorders like sleep apnea, respiratory infection, bronchial asthma, etc.
  • Individuals with morbid obesity are at a higher risk of cancer.
  • Social stigmatization may result in depression, irritability and alienation from social interactions.
  • Morbidly obese individuals are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disorders, hypertension, diabetes and a host of other metabolic disorders.
  • Osteoarthritis, stress incontinence, backache and joint pain are some of the common conditions.
  •  Host of other symptoms like skin infections, varicose veins, infertility, etc may also be present.

Treatment For Morbid Obesity

While there are host of exercise programs that can help burn down excess of fat and increase metabolism, in most cases, these exercise programs are not beneficial since individuals with morbid obesity have limited mobility and get exhausted very easily.

The most recommended treatment for morbid obesity is bariatric surgery. There are several bariatric procedures which have different degree of effectiveness. The most recommended bariatric surgery is lap band surgery. Following bariatric surgery, the individual is put on to a maintenance diet, which helps lose weight quickly. Estimates suggest that bariatric surgery can help lose as much as 50 pounds within one month after surgery. Following the surgery certain precautions are needed,

  • Low fat diet and increase intake of fat substitutes.
  • Regular aerobic exercises to maintain high metabolic rate.
  • Regular health checks to control the co-morbidities associated with obesity.

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