Obesity: what is it?

Obesity: what is it?

Obesity has become a public health problem in France, as it is now affecting 15% of the population . This disease is brought about by a disequilibrium between the quantity of energy absorbed and spent, which can rapidly become dangerous if it reaches an advanced stage. On the occasion of the next World Health Day let’s take a closer look  at this pathology and its very specific  treatments…

The different types of obesity

There are several forms of obesity and each one comes with different risks. It is important to know that this disease is diagnosed using scientific tools and precise indicators. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of them,  capable of measuring the different stages of the disease, thanks to a calculation relating height and weight . Obesity is different from being overweight, and can be moderate, severe, and very severe.

  • In the first instance, the patient has a BMI of between 30 and 35. This stage of the disease puts you at increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
  • When the patient is noted as being severely obese, with a BMI of between 35 and 40, it considerably increases the risk of illness. In fact, this is the stage where patients  may need a surgical intervention.
  • Finally, when the BMI is over the 40 limit, doctors consider the excess fat to be clinically very severe.

Certain professionals consider that there is even a higher level,  that of massive obesity, where the BMI is over 50. These last two types have such an impact on the health of the person concerned that their life expectancy is often reduced.

Body fat mass distribution

Specialists analyse the risks  taken by patients with this disease  relative to the distribution of their body fat mass. In this way,  they distinguish between android obesity, or abdominal obesity,  and gynoid obesity:

  • The first concerns the storage of fat in the top half of the body (abdomen, neck…), which provokes a number of complications, such as abnormally high blood pressure, diabetes, or cardiovascular problems. Fat storage is calculated primarily by measuring your waist size.
  • Gynoid obesity is predominantly in the lower part of the body (thighs, buttocks, lower stomach…) and has less risk of complications, but may generate joint problems, venous insufficiency and heart failure.

Different interventions post-weight loss

To combat this disease, more and more surgical interventions targeting weight loss have been developed. Several techniques exist: the gastric banding method, the by-pass, or the sleeve gastrectomy. They provide rapid and impressive results, but often leave marks on the body.

In fact, following major weight loss, it is necessary to treat sagging skin in areas such as  the neck, arms, thighs, stomach, back and even the face. These operations, which remove the excess skin (and fat) aim to tighten and remodel the tissue to follow the new curves of the body. The patient may have a number of such cosmetic surgery operations:

Some of these interventions are partially covered by your State Social Security. Private Health Insurance covers post-bariatric surgery relative to the area of the body being operated on,  for example it covers thigh lift surgery, arms, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), bodylift surgery and breast reduction. However, certain reimbursements are only accepted after an agreement form is  signed by the surgeon and sent to the Health Insurance Doctor.

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