Obesity & Weight Management
Approximately 2.1 billion adults across the globe suffer from obesity, meaning they have too much body fat, and this number continues to rise. Americans today are 24 pounds heavier than they were 60 years ago. Obesity and overweight are both issues that affect a person’s physical and mental health and lead to serious complications. Our endocrinologists partner with other medical specialists, including dietitians, exercise physiologists, behavioral therapists, and bariatric surgeons, to help patients struggling with obesity to improve their health and achieve weight-loss goals.
What is obesity?
Obesity is a chronic disease in which a person’s body has an excess of calories stored in the form of fat. Often, an imbalance of hormones and abnormal metabolism influences energy intake and energy expenditure, resulting in increased hunger and the accumulation of fat.
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What Causes Obesity?
Obesity is a disease, so there’s much more involved than self-control around eating. The cause of obesity is a combination of genetics, eating too much, and not exercising enough. Since the endocrine system plays a part in the role of metabolism and hormone production, it can influence a person’s weight with appetite, blood sugar, energy levels, and fat accumulation. In other words, obesity can be caused by a hormone imbalance, such as hypothyroidism and hypercortisolism, also known as Cushing’s syndrome.
It’s not uncommon for some medications, like those used to treat diabetes, neurological disorders, psychiatric illnesses, or inflammatory conditions, to cause excessive weight gain. Obesity can also be caused by stress-related weight gain.
The Connection Between Obesity & Your Endocrine System
Obesity can be due to glandular and hormonal problems. And as your top endocrinologists, we are experts in managing hormones and metabolism and skilled in assessing the cause of obesity and potential complications. If you come into our office, we’ll conduct a full evaluation and diagnosis and direct you on best treatment options for your situation. The following endocrine system problems can contribute to obesity:
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Excessive glucocorticoid
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Hypothalamic dysfunction
Our endocrinologists treat obesity with a long-term treatment combination of physical activity, diet, and lifestyle changes. We provide various nutritional programs that focus on portion control and healthy living. Weight loss medications can also be helpful. And sometimes we recommend bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, as beneficial for weight loss.
Our customized treatment plans include diagnosing and treating any complications of obesity you may have, such as diabetes. We also treat secondary causes of obesity and refer patients to other specialists, like neurologists and cardiologists, if necessary.
When to see an Endocrinologist
Endocrinologists are specialists in treating disorders of the endocrine system which includes glands that produce hormones. But even if you do not have a medical condition, and you’re finding your weight hard to manage, consult one of our endocrinologists who will come up with a treatment plan for your obesity. We will also rule out any secondary causes that could lead to further complications.
Frequently Asked Questions About Obesity
Is obesity genetic?
Recent studies have shown that a person’s genes are often connected to a predisposition toward obesity. Monogenic obesity is a type of obesity in which an individual has specific mutations in a single gene that can lead to obesity. Polygenic obesity, on the other hand, is caused by the effect of multiple genetic variants. The good news is that you can overcome the genetic propensity to be obese. We direct our patients toward making lifestyle changes that combat the risk and help them maintain optimal health.
What are the risk factors for obesity?
Health risks of obesity range from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure to heart disease, strokes, sleep apnea, and more. Mental health problems, including depression, and social stigmas can also arise for those battling obesity.
What’s the difference between obesity and overweight?
Both refer to an unhealthy and excessive fat accumulation. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines overweight as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater and obesity as 30 or greater. BMI is a calculation based on the ratio of your height to weight.
Can children be obese?
Absolutely. Child obesity is a serious medical condition that can set a youngster on a path to lifelong health problems. In addition to developing diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, children with obesity can suffer from depression and poor self-esteem. If your child is obese, get them the care they need by scheduling an appointment with us. Our treatment plans for kids aim to improve their eating and exercise habits now so as to prevent further complications in the future.
How do I prevent obesity?
The key to preventing obesity is developing a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular exercise. We recommend the following obesity prevention strategies:
- Learn correct portion sizes by measuring or weighing your food.
- Keep a food journal of what you eat.
- Read nutrition labels and follow their serving recommendation.
- Choose whole grain foods over processed foods.
- Eat at least 6 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Engage in at least an hour of moderate to intense physical activity 4 times a week.
- Get 10-15 minutes of physical movement every day.