The fat disease dilemma

One-third of all American adults have one particular disease. That’s more than 35 percent of the entire U.S. adult population. What makes this number so shocking is that we’re not talking about heart disease, cancer or diabetes. We’re talking about obesity and the question – is it really a disease?

Obesity is dangerous because it’s directly related to many conditions that make up the leading causes of preventable death. These include health problems like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancer. It’s also linked to other dangerous conditions like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), hypertension, hyperlipidemia and more, which can cause bigger health problems over time.

Just this summer, the American Medical Association voted to officially classify obesity as a disease. This decision not only impacts health care providers, physicians, staff and patients – it impacts the entire field of preventive medicine. The experts at Life Line Screening agree classifying obesity as a disease is actually a good thing. Here’s why:

Obesity as a disease means faster treatment

Now that obesity is classified as a disease, it can be treated like a disease not only by physicians, but by health care insurance policies. Rather than only covering treatment after a serious condition develops, like type 2 diabetes, this may mean that insurance will cover the treatment needed to lose weight before more serious conditions develop.

Faster treatment means fewer risk factors for other diseases

Obesity is a major risk factor for serious, life-threatening diseases. Eliminating obesity means eliminating a lethal risk factor. When patients who are obese lose significant weight, their risk for conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and OSA improve or resolve more than 80 percent of the time.

Fewer risk factors for other diseases means a healthier world

The goals of preventive health care, like those of Life Line Screening, strive for decreased disease risk factors through healthy lifestyles. Obesity is one of those risk factors. If we can lower the number of people affected by obesity, we can lower the number of people who develop other types of diseases, including life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Addressing obesity as a disease means promoting a healthier world through diagnosis, treatment and preventive measures. If we want to achieve lifelong health, we must learn to avoid the things that destroy it. Obesity, now classified as a disease, is something that can be avoided – starting today.


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