People use euphemistic or humorous words like heavy-set, big-boned, pleasantly plump, beer belly, thunder thighs, and muffin top to describe excess fat on their bodies, but medical professionals take it more seriously. That’s because your weight carries serious consequences for your health.
Dr. Nirav Naik at New Life Medical in Bakersfield, California, helps his patients understand the difference between being overweight and obese, the various stages within those categories, and the potential health risks related to carrying too much weight. More importantly, he assesses your overall health and determines the safest way for you to lose weight so you can reduce or eliminate your risk of dangerous diseases. Here’s what you should know.
How do doctors measure fat?
How much body fat you have is different from how much you weigh. If you have a traditional bathroom scale and have been dieting and exercising to lose weight, but you’re not seeing the numbers budge in your favor, don’t panic. You may be building muscle and losing fat, but because muscle weighs more than fat, the weight number doesn’t tell the whole story.
That’s why doctors use other tools to get a more accurate picture of your body composition. One of the most reliable and simplest ways is to calculate your body mass index (BMI). By plugging in your height and weight, you can determine where you fall into established weight categories. We have a tool here on our website where you can insert your height and weight to check your own BMI instantly.
Your BMI is not a definitive diagnostic measurement, but rather a screening tool that lets us know if we need to take action. Here’s how we categorize your BMI level:
- Under 18.5: underweight
- 18.5-25: normal weight
- 25-30: overweight
- 30-35: class 1 obesity
- 35-40: class 2 obesity
- Higher than 40: class 3 obesity
Your BMI is an indicator of where you stand compared to the general population. It’s been used for more than 100 years, and it’s not the only tool we use. We also take into consideration the circumference of your waist, your age, your gender, your fat-to-muscle ratio, your bone density, and your body type.
Why does weight matter?
Being overweight puts extra stress on all of your body’s systems and taxes its resources. Overweight people, especially those who are obese — a BMI of 30 or higher — are at a greater risk for several serious health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder problems
- Certain cancers
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
Although not all people who are overweight suffer from these conditions, and not all people who have these conditions are overweight, the correlation is well documented. Maintaining a healthy weight gives you an advantage when it comes to staving off these medical worries, but if you’ve struggled with losing weight and conventional methods aren’t working for you, we can help.
Resorting to surgery to address your obesity may seem extreme, but it’s very common and considered safe and effective, although not without risks. Dr. Naik specializes in multiple types of bariatric (weight loss) surgeries and can help you decide whether you're a good candidate for this next step in your journey toward wellness.
In simple terms, weight-loss surgery reduces the amount of space in your stomach so you eat less and lose weight. Depending on your health, lifestyle, and goals, Dr. Naik may recommend:
- Gastric band, which resizes your stomach
- Gastric bypass, which reroutes your digestive tract through a small stomach pouch
- Gastric balloon, which fills space in your stomach leaving less room for food
- Gastrectomy, which removes a portion of your stomach
After your weight-loss surgery, you need to follow a healthy diet and make an effort to maintain a healthy weight. For many who are obese, surgery is a positive step in the right direction that helps them start over with a clean slate and a fresh outlook on their life and health.
If you’ve been wondering whether weight-loss surgery can give you a second chance, give us a call at 661-230-8306 or click the button to request an appointment online.