Obesity is defined as having an unhealthy amount of body fat. Overweight is defined as an excess amount of body weight as compared to an acceptable body weight. The common tool to measure obesity and overweight is the body mass index (BMI). It measures body weight In relation to height. A BMI may indicate a person is overweight, but it could indicate a person is overweight, but it could be due to lean muscle and not excess body fat (such as with an athlete).
Obesity in children
- Developmental obesity – this category of obesity begins in the early years of a child’s life and continues steadily over the adult year. Hence, the foundation has already set in by the time the child is about four years old. The cells become saturated with fat and as the child grows older, more and more fat accumulates in the body. Muscle and bone mass also increases since the body has to carry additional weight. Such children usually grow tall, look older for their age and are obese right through infancy even up to their adult years. This type of obesity results in a higher lean body mass along with the fat.
- Reactionary obesity – this type develops due to periods of emotional stress in a child’s life. During such stress periods the child may overeat resulting in increase in weight. However, since these periods are intermittent, the weight also reflects up and down.
What causes obesity?
Simply stated, obesity results when the intake of calories exceeds calorie expenditure. But the cause of obesity is not that simple. Whether people accumulate excess body fat or not is due to complex and interesting factors that include
- Physical activity
- Environmental exposure
- Genetic background
Some medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, insulin, and beta blockers used for hypertension are also associated with the development of obesity. Their contribution to the overall incidence of obesity is small (although meaningful to the affected people.)
Differences in sexes have shown that women generally gain weight after the first pregnancy and after menopause. Man gain weight generally after the age of 50 since their metabolic rate is lowered and the physical activities are decreased, while the food intake in terms of calories is not reduced.
Sign and symptoms of obesity
The most obvious sign of obesity is an individual who is overweight. However, excessive body weight does not necessarily correlate with obesity. A number of symptoms are associated with obesity. Those apparent with the onset of obesity include increased risk of accidents and falls, impaired heat tolerance (inability to stand or do well in hot weather), and in women menstrual irregularities and infertility.
Symptoms that are related to long term obesity include:
increased surgical risk attributed to increased anesthesia needs and greater risk of wound infections.
Pulmonary disease because of excess weight over the lungs and respiratory tract.
Type ll diabetes as a result of insulin insensitivity of enlarged fat cell
Hypertension or high blood pressure owing to increased blood volume resistance to blood flow throughout the circulatory system.
Cardiovascular diseases as a result of increased LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides with concomitant decreased in HDL-cholesterol.
Bone and joint disorders.
Gall stones due to increased cholesterol content of bile.
Pregnancy risks including more difficult delivery, increased number of, increased number of birth defects, toxemia of pregnancy.
Increased psychological problems with social stigma attached to obesity.
The greater the degree of obesity, the more likely it is that someone develop health problems.
Diagnosis for obesity or overweight
The body mass index (BMI formula uses height and weight to measure status. Adult BMI of 25 to 25.9 – overweight
Adult BMI of 30 or more – obese
BMI formula: weight in pounds, times 703) divided by (height in inches squared)
Waist size (circumference) measures abdominal fat. Over 40 inches (102cm) in men and over 35 inches (88cm) in women indicates health and obesity risk factors.
Conditions associated with obesity
- Chronic pain
- Sleep apnea
- Immobility or marked reduction in exercise
- Child obesity due to starvation of mother during pregnancy
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Bardet-biedi syndrome
- Prader-willi syndrome
- Lesions of hypothalamic regions
Medical complications of obesity
- Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease including myocardial infraction
- Ventricular hypertrophy and congestive heart failure
- Cerebrovascular accidents
- Diabetes mellitus
- Gall bladder disease, risk further increased during rapid weight loss
- Fatty liver, portal inflammation and fibrosis-non alcoholic steatohepatitis
- Hyperlipidemia, especially hypertriglyceridemia
- Degenerative osteoarthritis
- Increased risk of hip fracture
- Increased cancer risk, especially breast, uterus, colon, prostate
- Increased surgical risk.
Homeopathic treatment of obesity
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat obesity but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat obesity that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of obesity:
Kali Bi, Graphites, Ferrum Met, Kali Carb, Phytolacca, Capsicum, Calcarea Carb, Aconite, Ambra Gresia, Antim Crude, Sulphur, Lycopodium, Phosphorous, Natrum Carb, Calcaria Ars, Arsenic Album, Cantharis, Ammonium Carb, Carbo Veg, Crocus Sativus, Digitalis, Pulsatilla, Bryonia, Bromium, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Camphor, Baryta Carb, Sabadilla, Rhus Tox, Magnesia Phos, Lachesis, Platina, Sepia, China and many other medicines.