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Understanding The Common Causes Of Morbid Obesity And Treatment Options For The Morbidly Obese

Oct 16, 2007
Obesity becomes morbid when it reaches the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities) that result either in significant physical disability or even death.

The term morbid obesity, also called clinically severe obesity or class-3 obesity - is a disease of excess body fat (adipose tissue), which can adversely affect general health, mobility and quality of life. Morbid obesity is typically defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher. According to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Report, morbid obesity is a serious disease and must be treated as such. It is a chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time.

Morbid obesity is a significant risk factor for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, diabetes, respiratory problems and musculo-skeletal disorders. Generally, the health threats of morbid obesity are: double risk of early death if your weight is more than twice your ideal, 5-7 times greater risk of death from diabetes or heart attack, high risk of end-stage (untreatable) obesity, numerous negative social, psychological and economic effects.

The causes of severe clinical obesity remain complex and varied, and typically include factors such as family genetic history, lifestyle and eating habits in childhood and adolescence, medication usage, calorie-intake, mood/depression, degree of physical activity, and cultural, socioeconomic and psychosocial factors. Although there are several clearly identifiable causes and contributory risk factors for morbid obesity, experts have been unable to pinpoint the relative importance of these risk factors in the ongoing obesity epidemic.

Treatment for morbid obesity usually includes a combination of liquid or very-low-calorie diets, weight loss medications and exercise counseling. Patients suffering from significant co-morbid conditions may also qualify for bariatric weight loss surgery such as gastric banding or stomach bypass.

Mildly obese patients can benefit from diet and exercise treatments, sometimes provided in conjunction with weight loss medication. Patients with morbid obesity, especially those with serious co-morbid conditions, may qualify for bariatric surgical treatments such as Lap Band or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Lap-band adjustable gastric banding is the latest entrant (approved by the FDA in 2001) in the sphere of surgical treatment of morbid obesity

It has become increasingly clear that those with morbid obesity may not be able to get their weight under significant control on their own without surgery. If you are morbidly obese you run a significant risk of dying prematurely due to your weight. In fact, those with morbid obesity can be expected to die 13-20 years prematurely unless they can lose most of their excess weight.

Obesity is a serious problem, whatever age you are, and whatever stage you are in your life. For this reason it is important that obesity is not ignored but addressed as soon as possible so that people can enjoy their life for the full with as few physical ailments as possible.
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