What is morbid
obesity is defined as weighing more than
twice your ideal weight or being more than
100 pounds overweight.
How does it occur?
for obesity are not clear. Although obesity
occurs when the number of calories consumed
is greater than the amount of energy spent,
not all obese people overeat. They may have
a slower rate of metabolism, the amount of
energy needed to maintain the basic body
functions when at rest. Obese people also
use up fewer calories because it's harder
for them to be physically active.
Heredity is a
contributing factor. Children who have obese
parents are 10 times more likely to become
obese adults than children who have parents
of normal weight. There is also an
environmental factor because unhealthy
eating habits may be reinforced in families.
A few obese people have an imbalance of
hormones. Emotional problems, such as
depression, anger, and anxiety can
occasionally be a cause. Emotional problems
can contribute to the obesity or can result
What are the
Obesity is a
more serious condition than being overweight
because there is a greater risk for serious
illness. Excess weight in all parts of the
body puts an added burden on all body
functions. The most common complications are
osteoarthritis, a disease of the joints
causing pain, swelling, and stiffness
functioning of the heart and lungs
hyperlipidemia, or increased fats in the
body, often associated with higher
cholesterol levels resulting in heart
disease and/or stroke.
If you are
morbidly obese, it will be more difficult
for you to obtain such health care services
as good physical exams, x-rays, and
obesity can lead to increased risk of cancer
of the colon, prostate, and rectum. In
women, obesity can lead to increased risk of
cancer of the breast, uterus and ovaries.
How is it
an individual for gross obesity, the doctor
will take a medical history, do a physical
exam, and may order the following tests:
levels (blood chemistry)
may also order these additional tests:
measure your heart activity)
cholecystogram or ultrasound (an x-ray
procedure for examining the gallbladder
and common bile duct; 25% of obese
people have gallstones)
How is it treated?
step in the treatment of obesity is a weight
reduction diet based on low-calorie foods.
The doctor may refer you to a dietitian. The
diet is prepared to allow a weight loss of 1
to 2 pounds a week.
doctor's approval, you can begin a modest
physical activity program. Weight loss
support groups can help to keep you
If there are
concerns about any emotional problems, the
doctor may also refer you to a mental health
professional for counseling.
performed in the management of morbid
obesity after careful consideration and
discussion of risks and benefits. It is only
considered for people who have no serious
medical or psychosocial problems and who
have not been able to lose significant
weight by low calorie diets and behavior
modification. For the doctor to consider you
for surgery, you should meet the following
no signs of
mental illness, depression, or
liver, or kidney disease
financial support to pay for the surgery
and follow-up care
years of age.
reduction operations involve shortening the
digestive tract so some of the food does not
have time to be absorbed into the body. This
allows the person to feel full and reduces
the need to eat more. You must eat small
amounts of food only when you are hungry and
chew the food very well. An excessive amount
of liquids should not be taken with meals.
is a simpler operation and has greater
benefits than gastric reduction surgery. It
also involves making the stomach smaller by
placing a small pouch in the stomach, or
stapling or sewing part of the stomach
closed. This causes the person to feel full
after eating a small amount of food.
lipectomy is a cosmetic procedure for
removing fat that has accumulated in
particular areas of the body. However, it is
not generally done for morbidly obese
necessary for both diet management and
postsurgical care. The doctor will check you
for vitamin deficiencies, amount of weight
loss, and speed of weight loss. The doctor
may also continue to check you for high
blood pressure and diabetes.
How long will the
last as long as the excess weight. How
quickly you can lose the weight depends on
the diet you are on, how well you follow the
diet, and how physically active you are able
How can I take
care of myself?
follow the full treatment prescribed by your
doctor. In addition, you can:
Keep a daily
log of what foods you eat. Write down
everything you eat and drink.
physical activity log recording how many
minutes you exercise a day.
moderation if you are just beginning.
effort to discuss your feelings,
challenges, and successes at your
support group or with your doctor.
least six 8-ounce glasses of water a
day. Drink low-calorie beverages.
To help you
to stay motivated, follow these guidelines:
realistic goals for yourself.
short-term goals. Establish nonfood
rewards for attaining your goals.
people and stay in environments that
keep you motivated.
on preparing low-calorie meals.
exercise partner to work out with.
articles, or watch TV shows that discuss
about your diet and continue reducing
fat and counting calories.
What can be done
to help prevent morbid obesity?
The best way
to prevent obesity and morbid obesity
problems is to manage weight gain as it
occurs. Managing the type and amount of food
you eat and exercising daily are the best
care provider is the best source of
information for you. Talk to him or her to
help you prevent or manage morbid obesity.
iMcKesson Clinical Reference Products.
Published by iMcKesson Clinical Reference
Copyright © 1991-2000 iMcKesson LLC. All
Adapted from content provided
by iMcKesson, LLC
Review Date: 7/29/2001