Obesity is listed by the Centers for Disease Control as a serious chronic disease.

That may sound extreme to some, but there is a valid reason for this designation. Obesity – which is defined as possessing a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above – can cause dozens of health conditions, including many that will have a serious impact on your health.

And as someone who works with patients every day to attain sustained, healthy weight loss, Dr. Eric J. Velazquez, M.D., MBA, FACS, FASMBS, a bariatric surgeon with Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management, encourages anyone battling obesity to seek a solution to what, over time, can present serious consequences.

“Obesity is defined as the accumulation of body fat to the point that it becomes detrimental to health,” Dr. Velazquez said. “When the BMI’s higher than 30, obesity opens the door to a lot of other health conditions. These conditions could be high blood pressure, obstructed sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels). It also increases the risk of developing cancer. It increases the risk of depression. It increases the risk of osteoarthritis and joint disease. So, as you can see, obesity is the big gateway for all of these conditions to start affecting your health.”

And while it may take some time for obesity lead to these conditions – referred to as co-morbidities – once they begin, they are harder to reverse. 

“The longer you’re affected by obesity, the longer those conditions can create a bigger negative impact on your health,” Dr. Velazquez said. 

Unfortunately, obesity is a common health risk in the United States. In fact, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted over 2017-18, more than 2 in 5 adults (42.4%) are obese and about 1 in 11 adults (9.2%) are severely obese – which is defined as a BMI of 40 or above.

To determine your BMI, figure out your weight in kilograms. Then figure out your height in meters. Next, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.

If the number is over 30, and you’ve been dealing with one of the comorbidities mentioned above for some time, healthcare professionals recommend you do all you can to start lowering that number – especially if it is above 40.

“As obesity becomes more severe, as that BMI goes up, you can go into the category of morbid obesity,” Dr. Velazquez said. “When it’s over 40, these conditions tend to get worse. For instance, diabetes becomes more difficult to control and high blood pressure requires more medications to control. And those conditions themselves open the door to more serious diseases, such as coronary artery disease and risk of heart attack and stroke.”

The good news is that obesity is by no means irreversible, and it is not something that is likely to immediately impact your health. However, it is also easy to put off dealing with weight issues until you suddenly face a very serious condition as a result – a reality that many people find themselves in though it might could have been prevented.

That is why it is important to follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, get at least 8 hours of sleep, take vitamin supplements, and undertake some sort of exercise program (it doesn’t even have to be strenuous).

If you do find yourself struggling to combat obesity and have dealt with the reality of yoyo diets or perhaps have never found a successful route to weight loss, it may be time to talk with a healthcare professional. Caring and committed experts such as those at Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management can walk you through a range of options to lose weight and keep it off for good. That includes everything from dietary tips to medical weight loss to even bariatric surgery.

Learn more today

If you would like to learn more about healthy eating habits, losing weight or the different options to help you get control of your health, please contact Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Weight Management today. Dr. Velazquez and a team of caring, dedicated providers are ready to help, click here or call us at: 770-534-0110 or toll free at 877-921-0110.

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