GastricBypass.com - What is Morbid Obesity?

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What is Morbid Obesity?

Medically, the word "morbid" means causing disease or injury. Morbid Obesity is a serious disease process, in which the accumulation of fatty tissue on the body becomes excessive, and interferes with, or injures the other bodily organs, causing serious and life-threatening health problems, which are called co-morbidities.

Morbid Obesity is also called Clinically Severe Obesity, and is recognized by the consensus of medical opinion as a very serious health problem; a disease process. In most cases, the underlying cause is genetic -- you inherit the tendency to gain weight, and once the problem is established, there is very little that "will power" can do about it -- any more than a diabetic might control his blood sugar by will power.

How do we know it's genetic?

Numerous scientific studies have established that there is a very powerful genetic predisposition to Morbid Obesity:

  • Children adopted at birth show no correlation of their body weight with that of their adoptive parents, who feed them, and teach them how to eat. They show an 80% correlation of their body weight with their genetic parents, whom they have never even met.
  • Identical twins, with the same genes, show a much higher similarity of body weights, than do fraternal twins, who have different genes.
  • Certain genetic populations, such as the American Indians of the Southwest, have a very high incidence of severe obesity. They also have a markedly increased incidence of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Mice can be bred, which are very obese (they look like little powder puffs).  This is the result of a defect in a single gene, called the ob gene, which is associated with the ability to make a hormone, called leptin.  The problem in humans is much more complicated genetically, with over 100 genes involved in some aspect of obesity.
  • Another hormone has recently been discovered, called ghrelin, which stimulates appetite in normal persons.  Persons who lose weight by dieting have persistently elevated ghrelin levels, urging them to eat more.  Persons who undergo a gastric bypass have a decrease in ghrelin levels by about 77%, indicating one mechanism of how the operation reduces appetite.

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How do you know if you are Morbidly Obese?

We use three criteria:

  • Are you more than 100 lb over your "ideal body weight"? This is a weight established actuarially, at which you are likely to live the longest, not what you wish you could weigh - which is usually less.  
  • Another alternative criterion is called the Body Mass Index (BMI).  If this is greater than 40, surgery should be considered.  If it is greater than 35, and is accompanied by serious co-morbidity, surgery may be indicated.  To find out your BMI see the BMI calculator at the bottom of the page.
  • Do you have co-morbidities from being seriously overweight? We look for health effects that are known to be caused by, or aggravated by serious obesity. (See Health Effects of Serious Obesity).
  • Have you tried dieting, especially medically-supervised dieting, and been unable to achieve a sustained healthy body weight? Everyone knows diets don't work in the morbidly obese, and there has actually never been a scientific study reported which shows that they do, but you should have at least tried it.

What can you do to regain your health?

  • You could go on another diet. Unfortunately, although diets work for a little while, the effects seldom last, and the answer to Morbid Obesity really needs to last a lifetime. No diet program, even the drug programs are sufficiently powerful, or adequately long-lasting, to produce the necessary sustained weight loss in the severely obese.  There has never been a scientific study which has shown that dietary management is beneficial or effective, over the long term, in the severely obese person.
  • You could look at how much your health is at risk, and consider taking some risk now, to achieve a more lasting solution: surgery to change your body's physiology, and to help you to gain control of your weight.  

In our opinion, surgery is the only effective way to achieve lasting weight control, and a healthy body weight.

A person who chooses surgery can reasonably anticipate loss of at least 50% of excess body weight (average loss is 80%), as well as improved health, and the chance to live life in a normal-sized body.

What are the health effects of morbid obesity? Lets find out...

 

How do you know if you are Morbidly Obese and Possibly a Candidate for Surgery?

Generally, if you are or have:

  • a BMI that is greater than 40, surgery should be considered.  If it is greater than 35, and is accompanied by a serious comorbidity, surgery may be medically necessary.  To find out your BMI, use the BMI calculator below.
  • comorbidities from being overweight? We look for health effects that are known to be caused by, or aggravated by serious obesity.
  • tried dieting, especially medically-supervised dieting, and been unable to achieve a sustained healthy body weight.

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BMI Calculator: Select English or Metric measurement, and then fill in your height and weight to calculate your BMI. The results of the BMI calculations are displayed below. Note that these are approximate values, and are intended to be used only as a rough guide.

English
Height: ft in
Weight: lbs
Your BMI:
Metric
Height: cm
Weight: kg's
Your BMI:
BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5  Underweight
18.5 – 24.9  Healthy
25.0 – 29.9  Overweight
30.0 – 34.9  Obese
35.0 – 39.9  Severely Obese
40.0 –49.9  Morbidly Obese
50.0 and Above  Super Obese

This is not an official medical calculation. For an accurate B.M.I, please visit your doctor.

If your browser does not show the calculator above, try using this body mass index table by the CDC to determine your BMI.

 

 Ideal Body Weight Chart

How to Approximate Your Frame Size

  • Bend your forearm up to a 90 degree angle. Your arm should be parallel to your body.
  • Keep your fingers straight and turn the inside of your wrist towards the body.
  • Using your other hand, place your thumb and index finger on the two prominent bones (on either side) of the elbow.
  • Measure the distance between the bones with a tape measure or calipers.
  • Compare with the tables listing elbow measurements for medium-framed men or women.
  • Compare to the chart below. The chart lists elbow measurements for a medium frame - if your elbow measurement for that particular height is less than the number of inches listed, you are a small frame - if your elbow measurement for that particular height is more than the number of inches listed, your are a large frame.
Elbow Measurements For Medium Frame
Height in 1" heels Elbow Height in 1" heels Elbow
Men Breadth Women Breadth
5'2"-5'3" 2 1/2"-2 7/8" 4'10"-4'11" 2 1/4"-2 1/2"
5'4"-5'7" 2 5/8"-2 7/8" 5'0"-5'3" 2 1/4"-2 1/2"
5'8"-5'11" 2  3/4"-3" 5'4"-5'7" 2 3/8"-2 5/8"
6'0"-6'3" 2 3/4"-3 1/8" 5'8"-5'11" 2 3/8"-2 5/8"
6'4" 2 7/8"-3 1/4" 6'0" 2 1/2"-2 3/4"


Quick Reference to Find Your Frame Size.

Keep in mind that this is a far less accurate measurement method.

To calculate your frame type place your thumb and index finger around your wrist. If your finger overlaps the thumb, your frame is a "Small Frame". If they touch, your frame is a "Medium Frame". If they do not touch, your frame is a "Large Frame".

Height and Weight Table for Women
Height
Feet Inches
Small
Frame
Medium
Frame
Large
Frame
4' 10" 102-111 109-121 118-131
4' 11" 103-113 111-123 120-134
5' 0" 104-115 113-126 122-137
5' 1" 106-118 115-129 125-140
5' 2" 108-121 118-132 128-143
5' 3" 111-124 121-135 131-147
5' 4" 114-127 124-138 134-151
5' 5" 117-130 127-141 137-155
5' 6" 120-133 130-144 140-159
5' 7" 123-136 133-147 143-163
5' 8" 126-139 136-150 146-167
5' 9" 129-142 139-153 149-170
5' 10" 132-145 142-156 152-173
5' 11" 135-148 145-159 155-176
6' 0" 138-151 148-162 158-179
Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 3 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels)

 

Height and Weight Table for Men
Height
Feet Inches
Small
Frame
Medium
Frame
Large
Frame
5' 2" 128-134 131-141 138-150
5' 3" 130-136 133-143 140-153
5'' 4" 132-138 135-145 142-156
5' 5" 134-140 137-148 144-160
5' 6" 136-142 139-151 146-164
5' 7" 138-145 142-154 149-168
5' 8" 140-148 145-157 152-172
5' 9" 142-151 148-160 155-176
5' 10" 144-154 151-163 158-180
5' 11" 146-157 154-166 161-184
6' 0" 149-160 157-170 164-188
6' 1" 152-164 160-174 168-192
6' 2" 155-168 164-178 172-197
6' 3" 158-172 167-182 176-202
6' 4" 162-176 171-187 181-207
Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 5 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels)

 

Being underweight or overweight are recognized risk factors for many diseases, namely hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemias, and perhaps certain types of cancers.

Remember, these are statistical averages and not absolutes. If you are very muscular, the chart will be inaccurate for you, the same applies to the BMI calculator.

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Disclaimer

Disclaimer: GastricBypass.com is an independent service offered to obesity patients. It is meant to be an educational site that offers weight loss surgery information. The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, and should not be relied upon as, medical advice. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician. The information may not apply to you and before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should contact a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. If you use information provided in this site, you do so at your own risk and you specifically waive any right to make any claim against GastricBypass.com, its officers, directors, employees, or representatives as the result of the use of such information. All rights reserved.