New Delhi: Imagine a secret enemy base living next door like innocent neighbors. Although it appears inactive and harmless, it is quietly working around the clock to carry out lethal attacks on your city. The excess fat in obese patients is similar; it appears inactive but is constantly causing lethal damage to the body. The story of hyperactive fat: For a long time, medical science thought that fat cells were like phone batteries–they just stored and released energy. But recent studies have a different story to tell–that of an unleashed enemy when fat is excessive.
Weakening our defense: Our body has immune cells to fight bacteria and viruses. The fat cells, for their own overprotection, release false signals to these immune cells that they are diseased, even when they are not under any attack by pathogens. This sends local immune cells become tizzy, causing chronic inflammation. In other words, obesity makes fat cells to behave as if they are infected all of the time, overworking our immune system. However, the good news is that shedding weight helps drop inflammation, which in turn helps the immune system work normal hours.
Burdening the heart: The more fat we store, the more blood vessels the body has to newly create to transport blood to all parts of the body. This also means a lot of extra work for the heart every day, which increases blood pressure. Secondly, the excess fat, called visceral fat, stored around the heart interacts with the heart in a negative way to develop heart disease over time. However, this process is reversible. For example, if we lose one kilogramme of weight, the body breaks down and absorbs the blood vessels it doesn’t need.
That’s not all. There are many other diseases for which excess body fat is the key reason. Several types of cancers, infertility, depression, tendency to commit suicide, sexual dysfunction, arthritis, osteoporosis etc., too get either onset or accelerated by obesity.
Triggering diabetes: In healthy people, there is a switch that tells the liver to produce glucose only when the body is fasting. In obesity, this switch malfunctions and orders the liver to abnormally produce glucose, whether the person is fasting or not. This is the path to insulin resistance. This insulin resistance turns into full-blown diabetes when the excess fat attacks the pancreas–the organ responsible for producing insulin for controlling blood glucose–and impairs its ability to produce insulin. The most depressing news is that every six seconds, someone in the world dies from complications related to diabetes. Diabetes is the 7th-leading cause of death in the world.
Roughly 90 per cent of patients with type 2 diabetes have excessive body fat. That’s why doctors coined the word Diabesity to signify the close relationship between diabetes and obesity.
Diabesity is very costly to live with. If a normal-weight person without diabetes spends, for example, Rs 1000 per year on healthcare, Diabesity sufferers may spend about Rs 4100 per year in comparison, due to the regular medicines, tests, etc. needed to monitor the disorder. These expenses only grow along with the progressive disease and its complications as time goes by.
Although more men than women develop diabetes, women face more complications such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, heart attacks, depression, etc. Among men, erectile dysfunction is the most common diabetes complication–about 75 per cent of diabetic men confront it. The helpless feeling of type-2 diabetes patients is reinforced by the strong social and medical belief that, since diabetes was described thousands of years ago, it cannot be reversed.
In the early 1980s, surgeons first realised that many patients with type 2 diabetes who had undergone bariatric surgery for the treatment of morbid obesity experienced complete diabetes remission. Is bariatric surgery the right option for your diabesity? The first step of this journey is to understand what obesity means. Obesity is not measured only by your weight. The Body Mass Index (BMI), which measures your weight in relation to your height, is a common way to determine obesity and its severity.
World Health Organization (WHO) considers a BMI greater than 30 as class 1 obesity. BMI above 35 is Class II, i.e., serious obesity, and BMI above 40 is Class III, i.e., severe obesity. Minimally invasive bariatric weight-loss and diabetes surgery might be an option if your BMI is above 32.5 with type 2 diabetes, or for that matter, any other obesity-related comorbidity, or if your BMI is more than 37.5 without any comorbidity. One must discuss obesity issues with an expert bariatric surgeon. The time to act against it is NOW!
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.