In obesity diagnosis and treatment, patients are typically divided into three groups. Diagnosis of obesity cannot involve common approaches, since every patient is individual and obesity causes are different, but not just laziness and overeating.
For over a hundred years now, doctors have used the Body Mass Index (BMI) to diagnose and cure patients with excess or insufficient body weight.
The BMI is a coefficient, showing the ratio of the body mass to the human growth (in square meters), measured in kg / m².
BMI = Weight (kg) / Growth (m²)
There are four types of obesity, depending on the BMI. During the last decade, the BMI has been interpreted differently, the index boundaries ranged both upwards and downwards. Nowadays, the following standards are set:
- Class 1 obesity – BMI 25-30
- Class 2 obesity – BMI 30-40
- Class 3 obesity – BMI 40-50
- Class 4 obesity – BMI over 50
- Normal body weight – BMI 18.4-25
There are primary and secondary obesity, according to its different causes and origins.
Primary (general) obesity is not highly pronounced and typically is caused by:
- Inactive (sedentary) life (inefficient caloric expenditure)
- Dietary preferences (consumption of high-calorie foods)
- Hereditary factors (it is believed that obesity predisposition is inherited)
- Psychological issues
Primary obesity is much better to treat, since one can lose weight without medical help. If active lifestyle and diet do not help to get rid of excess weight, it can indicate serious violations in internal processes of the body or even a disease.
Do not forget that a certain amount of fat in the body is required for normal and natural vital functions in the human body.
In healthy males, fat is usually accumulated in the upper part of the body. In overeating, fatty layers around the face and neck appear. In addition, male abdomen becomes significantly bigger (fat can be distributed evenly not only underneath the abdominal skin, but also inside the abdominal cavity). The lower part of the male body get fat too, but not that obviously as the upper does (due this effect, the primary male obesity is often called an “apple shaped” obesity). This type of obesity is mostly typical for adult men.
As you may have noticed, in women the fat is mostly accumulated in the lower part of the body. This type of obesity (gynoid type) starts to develop in childhood, characterized by an even distribution of fat over the upper part of hips and buttocks. Due to the visual effect, this type obesity is often called a “pear shaped” obesity. In fact, such form of the body occurs for a certain reason. The thing is that some fat deposits in women can store female sex hormones that provide a positive effect: preventing atherosclerosis and prolonging sexuality.
When fat is distributed evenly all over the human body, this type obesity is called as mixed obesity.
The secondary obesity has usually severe forms, being the result of cerebral and endocrinal diseases. There are several types of secondary (sympathomimetic) obesity types:
- Obesity, caused by adrenal adenoma (Cushing’s syndrome), brain tumors, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, medicamental treatment with glucocorticoids, pancreatic tumor, bronchial adenoma.
- Obesity, characterized by deficiency of somatotropin (growth hormone), both hereditary and acquired.
- Hypothalamic (combination of trophic, vegetative, metabolic and endocrine disorders) obesity
- Obesity, caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Obesity, caused by thyroid dysfunction
During diagnostics, obesity is divided into hypertrophic and hyperplastic types.
Hypertrophic obesity is mostly diagnosed in obese and elderly people. Actually, hypertrophic obesity arises due to increased volume and size of each fatty cell, while total number of fatty cells increases slightly. Hypertrophic obesity is caused by violations in the cardiovascular system, diabetes and hyperinsulinism (high secretion of insulin).
Hyperplastic obesity is associated with growth of fatty cells in human body. The fact is that there is no such mechanism to reduce the number of fatty cells in the body. It can only be done by means of surgery. Thus, the number of fatty cells is closely correlates to growing or developing organism, and therefore hyperplastic obesity is often arise in children and teenagers.