Obesity levels have steadily risen in the United States over the past two decades and according to the CDC, obesity in adults has jumped from 30.5% to 42.4% while class III obesity (formerly known as morbid obesity) has doubled. Childhood obesity has significantly increased and currently, 20%+ of youngsters from 2 to 19 are considered obese.
Obesity ranks #2 in contributing to preventable premature death for the role it plays in stroke, cancer, heart disease, sleep apnea, liver disease, depression, diabetes, arthritis, and more.
Not only does it contribute to the demise of our health, but it also is a nationwide financial burden and one of the primary contributors to the rising cost of health insurance.
So, what is the best course of action to take in our fight against this epidemic? You may be wondering where the best place to start is. At Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions, we are helping to fight obesity one patient at a time. We work with our patients to identify and address any underlying conditions that are standing in the way of their weight loss. Today, we will look at some of the dynamics of obesity and the effective treatments we can use to fight back.
How Is Obesity Measured?
Most doctors and healthcare professionals use a simple calculation to determine obesity called a BMI scale, which stands for body mass index. While it cannot precisely determine the percentage of body fat an individual has, or provide an exact picture of their health, it can quickly place them into a category based on their height and weight. Some of these categories indicate that the individual’s weight may lead to health issues.
The traditional BMI scale is as follows:
- Less than 18.5 is considered underweight;
- 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight;
- 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight;
- 30 to 34.9 is considered class I obesity (formerly obese);
- 35 to 39.9 is considered class II obesity (formerly severe obesity);
- 40 to 49.9 is considered class III obesity (formerly morbid obesity).
Note: Recently the term “morbid obesity” has been replaced with the phrase “class III obesity” so you may see both terms referenced when researching causes and treatments of morbid obesity.
What Factors Contribute To Obesity?
Obesity is a complex disease that is not completely understood but occurs when we store more fat than we burn. Why some individuals store or burn more fat than others when circumstances are similar, can be complex or very simple.
Some of the most well-known causes of weight gain are overeating, eating foods that are unhealthy, and lack of physical exercise. But there are other underlying causes of weight gain that may not be as obvious like genetics, hormone imbalances, geographical or economic influences, differences in culture, environmental factors, medications, stress, psychological issues, metabolic factors, etc.
Finding the most effective obesity treatment for an individual requires us to first identify the underlying causes of their condition.
How Obesity Is Diagnosed?
The first line of diagnosis to determine obesity is usually the use of the BMI chart. The doctor may run a series of tests to determine if there may be a medical reason contributing to the patient’s obesity. These tests can also reveal health conditions that the patient is experiencing as a result of their weight. These tests may include:
- Liver blood count;
- Kidney function;
- Metabolic panel (basic);
- Thyroid (TSH) test;
- CRP protein;
- (HbA1C) hemoglobin;
- Vitamin-D levels;
- Sleep study;
- Electrocardiogram (EKG);
- Physiological evaluation.
Obesity Treatment Options
The doctor will use the results of the diagnostic tests to help determine the best obesity and morbid obesity treatment for each patient.
The specific treatment for obesity will vary by a patient because each individual will have a different combination of underlying causes that need to be addressed to achieve weight loss success. In many cases, a combination of treatments will offer the best results. Some treatments often used for the treatment of morbid obesity include:
- Significant lifestyle changes;
- Psychological, behavioral, and other therapies;
- Prescription weight loss medications;
- Education, nutritional & dietary counseling;
- Support groups;
- Bariatric surgery;
- Endoscopic weight loss procedures.
- 1. Changes In Lifestyle
- A portion-controlled healthy diet along with a physical exercise routine, getting enough sleep, and managing stress, etc all contribute to weight loss and weight management.
- 2. Behavioral/Emotional Therapy
- Often root causes of obesity can be identified in a therapeutic setting, which will allow the doctor and patient to work together to find strategies to address them and promote weight loss.
- 3. Prescription Weight Loss Medication
- Weight loss medications can be used alone or in tandem with a non-surgical procedure to help patients lose weight. These medications help decrease appetite and work with the metabolism to promote weight loss.
- 4. Bariatric Surgery
- Some patients may require surgical intervention as a morbid obesity treatment. Gastric bypass or other forms of bariatric surgery are often effective in helping patients lose weight.
- 5. Endoscopic Weight Loss Procedures
- Studies have shown that obese individuals who have higher BMI numbers have an average of a 1 in 9 chance of losing at least 5% of their total weight without some type of medical intervention.
- As a treatment for obesity, endoscopic procedures offer many benefits over surgical alternatives and fewer risks for complications.
- Endoscopic procedures such as the Orbera gastric balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) which has just recently gained FDA approval and is a fairly new obesity treatment, have been increasing in popularity.
The Orbera Intragastric Balloon
The ORBERA® balloon is a medical device that is placed in a patient’s stomach during a quick endoscopic procedure. Once the deflated balloon is placed, it is filled with a saline solution until it is about the size of a medium grapefruit. The balloon takes up a significant amount of room in the stomach, limiting the amount of food the patient can eat at one time.
The procedure is done as an outpatient with the patient under mild sedation, so there is no hospital stay involved and they can return home the same day.
The balloon stays in the patient’s stomach for six months. During this time, they are given a high level of support with guidance for nutrition, physical activity, and other needed professional support. The goal is for the patient to make permanent lifestyle modifications including portion control, a healthy diet, and daily exercise that they will continue following after the balloon is removed. Patients have lost anywhere from 33 to over 92 pounds in just six months using the Orbera weight loss balloon.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)
This minimally invasive but effective treatment of obesity has become very popular and has been the subject of many social media and internet posts over the past few years.
ESG is not a surgical procedure and does not involve any incisions. It is beneficial to patients with a BMI of over 30 to help them lose weight and keep it off.
The patient’s stomach capacity is reduced through an endoscopic procedure. The stomach is reshaped into a smaller “sleeve-like” pouch and held in that new smaller shape using about a dozen strategically placed sutures. The smaller stomach capacity assists patients with portion control and also helps them to feel full longer. The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes and patients can return home after a short observation period.
The ESG procedure decreases the stomach to about 25% of its original size, mirroring the results of gastric sleeve surgery but without removing any portion of the patient’s stomach. Because there are no incisions, recovery time is minimal and patients can resume their normal routines almost immediately.
The smaller stomach size prevents patients from eating too much in one sitting and also slows down the rate of digestion, helping them feel full longer.
Patients who participated in clinical studies and underwent the ESG procedure lost an average of 49% of their excess weight during the 68-week trial. This was double the amount that was expected and many patients’ testimonials have reported weight loss numbers of over 100+ pounds.
Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Solutions in Miami
Obesity is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition but weight loss is an achievable goal through non-surgical endoscopic treatments and ongoing support.
The health benefits resulting from the treatment of morbid obesity are numerous and include the elimination or remission of many weight-related illnesses. Patients have experienced remission from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint pain, mobility issues, etc after lowering their BMI levels. Losing as little as 5-10% of one’s excess weight can significantly decrease the risk of preventable premature death.
If you need to lose weight or are seeking treatment for morbid obesity, contact Simmons Advanced Weight Loss Solutions today. The experts at Simmons MD are highly-skilled in the treatment of obesity and are here to help you improve your health and reclaim your quality of life.
Set up a consultation with one of our caring professionals today and learn more about how non-surgical weight loss procedures can help you lose weight and keep it off.
At Simmons MD Advanced Weight Loss Solutions, we create an individualized plan and provide the support you need to help you achieve your weight loss goals.