Obesity is a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight. It is estimated that 1 in 10 Dutch people are obese. Obesity often entails other pathologies. People who are seriously overweight often have additional complications, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels. So in addition to reducing body weight, these factors are also important areas to be looked at by the internist.

Causes of obesity

The causes of obesity are varied and cannot be clearly identified. Weight is put on when the body receives more energy than it consumes. Factors that contribute to this situation are diets that are too rich in energy, insufficient physical exercise and a sedentary lifestyle. But stress, lack of sleep, genetic predisposition and eating disorders should not be underestimated, as they may be underlying causes of obesity. What’s more, people may eat more from habit, or if they are feeling unhappy or depressed. So to remedy the problem of obesity, it is not just necessary to reduce weight. The internist will also focus on the possible causes of obesity.

Diagnosis of obesity

How do you determine if someone is overweight? One of the indicators used is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Overweight people have a BMI of 25 or higher. You can calculate your Body Mass Index by dividing your weight in kilos, for example 96kg, by your height squared in metres (1.80 * 1.80 = 3.24). 96/3.24 = 29.6. A BMI of between 19 and 25 is considered to be normal weight.

Body Mass Index
< 19 underweight
19-25 normal weight
25-35 obese
> 35 morbidly obese

Note! The Body Mass Index only gives an indication – it is not a definitive diagnosis. It does not provide any information on the weight ratio of fat, muscles and bones in your body.

Treatment of obesity

First and foremost, the aim is to achieve a stable and healthy weight. Losing and gaining weight quickly is not healthy for a person. Help and guidance from a dietitian or physiotherapist may offer a solution for achieving a healthy weight. The internist will support you in this process and may recommend treatment such as a gastric balloon.

Based on their extensive knowledge of the human body, the internist is also able to assess the risk of additional complications. Obesity often goes hand in hand with high blood pressure, raised cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. The internist also looks at ways of treating these pathologies. For example, they may prescribe medication to lower blood pressure.

The internist is primarily a specialist with extensive knowledge of the human body, enabling them to identify the possible causes of a condition. After making their assessment, they may refer you to other specialists for further treatment.

Gastric balloon

For people who are seriously overweight, a good solution may be to have a gastric balloon inserted or to undergo a gastric sleeve procedure. The gastric balloon is particularly suitable if surgery (such as a gastric sleeve procedure) is considered too dangerous. The balloon is inflated in the stomach, making you feel full, which in turn reduces your appetite. A gastric balloon in combination with healthy eating patterns usually delivers excellent results for many people.

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