Is Obesity a Disease?

Whether or not obesity should be considered a disease is a matter of debate. In 2013, the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest group of physicians, voted to recognize obesity as a disease. The decision was controversial to say the least.

The decision was meant to improve access to weight loss treatment, reduce the stigma of obesity, and underscore the fact that obesity is not always a matter of self-control. Others argue that calling obesity a disease automatically categorizes a large portion of Americans as “sick,” when they may not be. Instead, critics say obesity should be considered a risk factor for many diseases, but not a disease in and of itself.

Experts on one side of the issue say obesity, like alcoholism, depression, and anxiety, is a disease. There are definite medical patterns: hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter deficiencies, and nutritional exhaustion that all contribute to obesity. Many patients that are obese have underlying medical issues that need to be addressed.

On the other hand, with more than one third of the American population presently classified as obese, it is clear that there are many causes for excessive fat accumulation like genetic issues, too little exercise/physical activity, too much food, inappropriate food selection, eating while watching television, etc. In many cases, obesity is the result of a specific lifestyle which can typically be reversed (at least in the short term) by adopting a different lifestyle.

Obesity increases the risk of developing a number of serious health conditions, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Infertility or irregular periods

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says people should aim to make long-term changes, such as eating healthy on a regular basis, and boosting daily physical activity. Even small amounts of weight loss — such as 5% to 10% of your total body weight – can have health benefits.

For some, obesity as a disease invalidates the importance of discipline, proper nutrition, and exercise and enables individuals with obesity to escape responsibility. For others, obesity as a disease is a bridge to additional research, coordination of effective treatment, and increased resources for weight loss.

Ultimately, obesity is a complex entity that can have many causes; some are endocrine (like thyroid malfunction or hyperfunctioning of the adrenal gland or Cushing’s syndrome), but often the condition is from a combination of inactivity and overeating. For others, there are genetic factors that produce a tendency to be overweight even with the consumption of what would be for most people an appropriate number of calories. Whether the causes are hormonal, genetic, or reside in the brain is often difficult to determine.

If you’re in the Las Vegas area and looking for treatment for obesity and the life-threatening conditions that often accompany it, schedule an appointment with VIP Surg. Our experts can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

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Gastric Bypass for a Longer Life

According to research by the Geisinger Health System, one of the largest health service organizations in the U.S., patients with severe obesity who have gastric bypass surgery reduce their risk of dying from obesity and other diseases by 48% up to 10 years after surgery, compared to similar patients who do not undergo the procedure. This is significant considering that the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimates about 24 million Americans have severe obesity, which would mean a BMI of 35 or more with an obesity-related condition like diabetes or a BMI of 40.

Researchers from the Geisinger Health System followed nearly 2,700 patients who had gastric bypass at the system’s nationally accredited bariatric surgery center between 2004 and 2014. Mortality benefits began to emerge within two years after surgery and were significant within four years. The biggest reduction in risk occurred in patients 60 years or older at the time of surgery and in patients who had diabetes before surgery.

“The long-term survival benefits these older patients and those with diabetes experience likely relate to improvements in long-term metabolic and cardiovascular health, among other risk factors,” said Michelle R. Lent, Ph.D., a Geisinger Obesity Institute researcher. “While this study did not evaluate specific-cause mortality, as expected, we did find significant improvements or remission in diabetes and high blood pressure.”

In the study, more than 60 percent of patients with diabetes before surgery experienced diabetes remission about five years after surgery. Previous studies have shown death from heart disease and even certain cancers are lower in gastric bypass patients than patients with severe obesity who do not have the operation.

People with obesity and severe obesity have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and dozens of other diseases and conditions. Studies have shown individuals with a BMI greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent greater risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals.Live Longer

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in learning what bariatric surgery can do for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can help you choose the best treatment for your unique situation.

 

Obesity: The Disease that Keeps on Growing

A number of studies have shown that individuals who are obese are often stereotyped as “lazy” or “lacking in willpower.” However, obesity is no longer considered a cosmetic issue that is caused by overeating and a lack of self-control. The World Health Organization (W.H.O.), along with National and International medical and scientific societies, now recognize obesity as a chronic progressive disease resulting from multiple environmental and genetic factors.

In the United States, epidemiological data from a study that measured the actual body size of thousands of Americans, showed that 34 percent of adults more than 20 years old are affected by obesity and 68 percent are overweight (2007-2008 data). Obesity affected 10 percent of children between two and five years of age, 2 percent of those between 6 to 11 years old, and 18 percent of adolescents.

Throughout the last 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity has been increasing at an alarming rate. Since 1985, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has supported an ongoing study, conducted on a yearly basis by state health departments, to examine changes in obesity prevalence state-to-state, and has found the following:

  • In 1990, the obesity prevalence for most of the states was 10 percent or less.
  • By 1995, more than half the states had a prevalence of 15 percent.
  • By 2000, nearly half the states had a prevalence of 20 percent or higher.
  • Five years later (2005), all but three states had a prevalence greater than 20 percent and nearly a third had a prevalence of 25 percent or more.
  • By 2010, the data show that most of U.S. states had a prevalence of 25 percent and many had a prevalence of 30 percent or higher.

Obesity is considered a multifactorial disease with a strong genetic component. Acting upon a genetic background are a number of hormonal, metabolic, psychological, cultural and behavioral factors that promote fat accumulation and weight gain.

Many other conditions associated with obesity contribute to the progression of the AdobeStock_69574863 (2).jpgdisease. Obesity reduces mobility and the number of calories that would be burned in the performance of activity. Weight gain may also cause psychological or emotional distress which, in turn, produces hormonal changes that may cause further weight gain by stimulating appetite and by increasing fat uptake into fat storage depots.

Sleep duration is reduced by weight gain due to a number of conditions that impair sleep quality such as pain, sleep apnea and other breathing problems, a need to urinate more frequently, use of certain medications, and altered regulation of body temperature. Shortened sleep duration, in turn, produces certain hormones that both stimulate appetite and increase the uptake of fat into fat storage depots.

Weight gain also contributes to the development of other diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis and depression, and these conditions are often treated with medications that contribute to even further weight gain. In all of these ways and more, obesity ’begets’ obesity, trapping the individual in a vicious weight gain cycle.

Multiple factors acting upon a genetic background cause weight gain and obesity. Conditions associated with weight gain and biological changes in the body that occur as a result of weight gain contribute to progression of the disease, often trapping the individual in a vicious weight gain cycle. Obesity is a complex disease influenced by several issues, including genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are concerned about your weight, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda to learn more about how to improve your weight and health.

 

Tips for Staying on Track with Health Goals during the Holidays

Between all of the special foods, doing our best to put others before ourselves, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can easily go off track in regards to our health and fitness goals. Consider the following to help during the rest of this holiday season.

  • Nobody’s perfect.
    With all the shopping needs and other time obligations, you are bound to miss a workout here and there, and that is okay. We don’t expect perfection with other areas of our life, and exercise is no different. Just make sure you get the next one!
  • Commit to two or three of your favorite holiday treats.
    List your favorites, and you are more likely to stick to those.
  • Plan ahead and create time.
    Instead of dwelling on the obstacles faced during the holiday season and what you can’t do, focus on what you can do, and find solutions to help keep you on track. Just as you would plan your time spent with your family, plan to incorporate your exercise as well. Even exercising as little as ten minutes sporadically throughout the day has been shown to be better than no exercise at all.
  • Be realistic.
    Keep in mind that having a realistic view about your situation and abilities is key to overcoming any pressure that you may be putting on yourself during this busy time of year. Be honest and know your limitations.
  • Make exercise a family affair.
    Quality time with family during the holiday season is often spent with too much food and too much sitting around. Exercise tends to take a backseat to yearly family traditions. Instead of taking a complete break during the holidays, reinvent some of those traditions and make exercise more of a family affair. Maybe go for a family walk around the neighborhood and look at the holiday decorations, suggest a game of backyard football or even a holiday-themed dance party.

You might not be able to stick to your holiday plan 100%. However, celebrating small victories can help you stay inspired and get you back on track to your routine for the new year as soon as possible! Dr. Tsuda and his team wish you a very Happy New Year full of health and fitness. Schedule an appointment to learn how we can help.

Digital scales with female feet on them and sign"no!" surrounded by Christmas decorations and glass of vermouth. Shows how alcohol and unhealthy lifestyle during xmas holidays effect our body.

Exercise and its Role in Treating Obesity

Obesity — everyone knows it’s bad and that it’s everywhere. Nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children in the United States deal with the health and emotional effects of obesity every day. The solution to the problem sounds deceptively simple; take in fewer calories a day, while energizing the calorie-burning process with regular exercise. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Exercise is an essential part of any weight-loss program and should become a permanent part of your lifestyle. The benefits of exercise can include:

  • burning off calories and losing weight
  • maintaining muscle tone
  • increasing metabolic rate (the amount of calories the body burns 24 hours a day)
  • improving circulation
  • improving heart and lung function
  • increasing sense of self-control
  • reducing level of stress
  • increasing ability to concentrate
  • improving appearance
  • reducing depression
  • suppressing appetite
  • helping one sleep better
  • preventing diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  • decreasing risk of some cancers, such as breast, ovary, and colon cancer.

To gradually increase your physical activity, your doctor may suggest that you:

  • Walk every day.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Do errands on foot, if possible. If you need to drive, park farther away, and walk to your destination.
  • Go to a spa, gym, or exercise class. Water aerobic classes are especially good if you have back, knee, or joint problems.
  • Do some form of strength training using gym equipment or your own body weight. In addition to making your muscles stronger and able to work longer without getting tired, strength training helps you burn more energy when you are at rest. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat, so as muscle increases so does the ability to burn calories.

To maintain an exercise program, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid setting your expectations too high. Start out slowly and build your stamina gradually.
  • Find a friend to exercise with.
  • Avoid being competitive. Try to improve on your last effort instead of compAdobeStock_89524788 (2).jpgaring yourself with someone else.
  • Recover completely from illness before resuming exercise. Then start with less exercise and increase the amount you do gradually to avoid injury.
  • Remember that exercise needs to be continued throughout your life.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for long-term answers for potentially life-threatening obesity, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can find the right treatment for you.

 

Breaking Down the Myths and Building Up the Facts of Weight-Loss Surgery

Popular myths about bariatric/weight-loss surgery (WLS) run the gamut from horror stories to fairy tales. In reality, these procedures are neither as awful nor as fantastic as they’re usually made out to be. Unfortunately, the very place where we often go for knowledge – the internet – is a grab bag of conflicting information when it comes to weight management and obesity. Luckily, Dr. Shawn Tsuda has the facts in an area riddled with fiction.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is a quick fix for obesity.

Fact: Bariatric surgery is a tool that can aid in what will be a lifelong commitment to health. It is designed to remedy a lifetime of problems that can shorten one’s lifespan and decrease one’s satisfaction with his or her current situation in life. Morbid obesity is dangerous. The fix is for life. It requires dedication and commitment. The surgery, recovery, and lifestyle changes that accompany WLS require both courage and determination on the part of the patient.

Myth: Bariatric surgery is only for the morbidly obese.

Fact: Obesity is only one of the criteria that qualify patients for surgery. Overweight patients may also be candidates if they have one or more health problems that might be reduced or alleviated by weight loss. Diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, arthritis, and high cholesterol are examples of such weight-related health conditions.

Myth: You will finally be skinny after bariatric surgery.

Fact: Most patients do not lose all of their excess weight. Losing just 50 percent of excess weight and keeping it off is considered a success story. The health benefits in reducing weight-related problems like sleep apnea often occur even in patients who don’t lose all the weight they would like.

Myth: Weight loss from bariatric surgery is permanent.

Fact: Some regain is likely. A patient might lose 150 pounds and gain back 30 to 50 pounds. Part of this is simply the body adjusting to the “new norm” and learning to store fat even on a very restricted diet. In the best case, some of the gain might be muscle from getting more exercise. At other times, a patient’s failure to adhere to the post-surgery lifestyle recommendations plays a role.

Myth: After bariatric surgery, I won’t have to worry about diet or exercise anymore.

Fact: Patients will need to continue an exercise and diet regimen to maintain their health moving forward. Approximately 20 percent of patients will see some weight regain after surgery. This typically occurs in patients who disregard their dietary intake and exercise.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering WLS, contact Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

Focus On Facts

Treat Your Obesity to Solve These Potential Health Issues

Measuring waist AdobeStock_90560299.jpegObesity is a complex health issue to address. It results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including individual factors such as behavior and genetics. Behaviors can include dietary patterns, inactivity, medication use, and other exposures. Obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes and reduced quality of life. Obesity is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide, along with its accompanying ailments including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

People who are obese, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. You can develop any one of these risk factors by itself, but they tend to occur together. A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made if you have at least three of the following risk factors:

  • A large waistline. This is called abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape.” Having extra fat in the waist area is a greater risk factor for CHD than having extra fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.
  • A higher than normal triglyceride level (or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides).
  • A lower than normal HDL cholesterol level (or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol).
  • Higher than normal blood pressure (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure).
  • Higher than normal fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat diabetes).

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for treatments for your obesity and metabolic syndrome, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can help you explore all of the options.