Managing Obesity as a Multi-Faceted Chronic Disease

Dr. Ali Zentner, MD, FRCPC, Internal Medicine, Obesity, discusses how obesity needs to be viewed as a multi-faceted chronic disease where patients need to be involved in treatment decisions.

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Dr. Ali Zentner, MD, FRCPC, Internal Medicine, Obesity, discusses how obesity needs to be viewed as a multi-faceted chronic disease where patients need to be involved in treatment decisions.
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Featuring Dr. Ali Zentner, MD, FRCPC, Internal Medicine, Obesity

Duration: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

We know that obesity is as much a disease as schizophrenia, or depression, or high blood pressure. And telling someone who carries extra weight to eat less and move more is like telling a schizophrenic to just ignore the voices. It’s like telling a patient with depression to cheer up, or asking someone with high blood pressure to just cut out salt.

There are a host of different factors that go into why one person carries extra weight, and gains weight, and under the exact same circumstances another person might even lose weight or maintain. There’s genetics, there’s body chemistry or physiology and then there’s environment.

Genetically speaking, some of us are very predisposed to weight gain. Body chemistry plays a huge factor in how hungry we are and how full we are. And whether something that we eat causes us to gain weight or not.

There are a variety of different hormones involved in how our body regulates fat metabolism and energy storage, and sometimes that system breaks. And then finally you and I live in a world that makes weight gain not just easy, but it’s the default.

If we go ahead and we live our lives and we mind our own business, most of us will gain weight. And so the big question here is how to help patients. Genetically speaking, we have no say. Body chemistry is something that sometimes we can often very much manipulate, whether it’s sometimes with medications or even with surgery for obesity.

And then finally environmentally speaking, there are a variety of different factors that we can do, from small changes to grand gestures, and everything in between to be healthier, to be higher functioning, to be fitter and stronger, and achieve not a goal weight per se, but a best weight that is comfortable, that is healthier, and that is maintainable long term.

Remember that this disease isn’t your fault, but it’s your responsibility, but it’s also the responsibility of your health care team. And it’s important as doctors and nurses that we educate patients, but it’s equally important for our patients to educate us.

My call to action is that patients out there educate their health care providers about what they need from us to better manage their obesity.

Presenter: Dr. Ali Zentner, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

Obesity as a Multi-faceted Disease ( 113 participated.)

Understanding Obesity

Questions True False  
1 Obesity is now considered a chronic disease that requires a multi-faceted approach to treatment.

 
2 Genetics, body chemistry and environment can all contribute to a persons susceptibility to weight gain and obesity.

 
3 Body chemistry and obesity can be linked to hormonal imbalances.

 
4 Unlike genetics, environmental factors are something patients can control, for example, diet, nutrition and daily exercise.

 
5 Sometimes patients need to consider medications as part of their treatment.

 

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.