Mechanism of Pathophysiology
Obesity is an oligogenic disease which involves polygenic modifier genes which interact with the environment and type of diet, level of exercise, and smoking (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). Body weight is regulated by the amount of caloric intake versus the amount of calories expended (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). Body fat storage is communicated to the brain and can indicate the reduced intake of food in patients, and insulin and leptin play a critical role (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). With obesity, excess body fat is not evenly distributed throughout the body; therefore, in patients who have higher levels of visceral adipose tissue may face a greater risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among other complications (Tchernof & Despres, 2013).
Description of the Pathology
Obesity is a serious public health epidemic which affects millions of people around the world. Through weight gain due to poor diet and limited physical activity, individuals face a risk of developing a variety of health problems (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). However, genetic factors are key contributors to obesity and may be attributed to familial clustering and hereditary nature of the condition (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). Therefore, persons often experience weight gain even if they practice healthy habits throughout their lives (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). Obesity is also believed to be a product of metabolic disorders when individuals cannot process food efficiently, thereby contributing to weight gain.
Body Systems Involved
Obesity can affect all body systems in specific ways and cause long-term damage to organs. However, some of the most common systems affected by obesity include the cardiovascular and respiratory systems with the risk of heart disease and asthma, the digestive system with a risk of developing digestive conditions, and the urinary system associated with kidney problems (Cummings & Schwartz, 2003). Each of these body systems may be negatively affected by obesity in different ways. Each patient must be evaluated to determine if there are any specific symptoms are complications related to obesity which require care and treatment.
Normal Anatomy of Major Body System Affected
Since there is significant attention paid to the cardiovascular system, a healthy heart and circulatory system does not incur an excessive workload to pump blood throughout the body (Garaulet, Ordovas, & Madrid, 2010). However, for obese persons, excess fat can increase the workload of the heart and cause a variety of complications that may include hypertension, risk of heart attack and stroke, and other problems (Garaulet et al., 2010). The strain that obesity causes for the cardiovascular system impacts its ability to function normally and causes additional harm to the heart and its related functions (Garaulet et al., 2010). It is necessary to examine these problems and determine an effective course of action to manage patient health.
Normal Physiology of Body System Affected
In non-obese persons, the heart does not have the same workload and can pump blood at a normal pace to different parts of the body (Garulet et al., 2010). Patients are less likely to develop coronary artery disease if they consume a healthy diet and exercise regularly, thereby limiting the amount of plaque which builds up in the arteries which causes blockages (Jakicic & Otto, 2005). When persons are of normal weight, the cardiovascular system can function without extensive effort and cause less strain on the heart and other organs versus obese persons who experience a variety of complications (Jakicic & Otto, 2005). These findings suggest that patients must have resources available to understand obesity risk for body systems.
Obesity requires extensive interventions and guidance from experts who typically advocate for weight loss through improved diet and increased physical activity (Jakicic & Otto, 2005). It is often recommended that at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity but higher levels are ideal to increase weight loss and maintain weight (Jakicic & Otto, 2005). Targeted interventions should provide different options for patients across different groups. These must be appropriate for different population groups to stimulate weight loss and improve the potential for long-term benefits (Jakicic & Otto, 2005).
The treatment of obesity requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted strategy with multiple components because it is largely behavioral and requires specific lifestyle changes to achieve results (Foster et al., 2012). Healthcare providers cannot effectively prescribe treatments and promote interventions for patients if they are reluctant to address the issue directly or have negative perceptions of obesity which have a poor impact on patients (Foster et al., 2012). Patients require extensive support and guidance to ensure that they understand the serious complications which can occur due to obesity (Foster et al., 2012). They must also recognize the importance of accomplishing specific goals and objectives related to improved diet and increased physical activity to stimulate weight loss (Foster et al., 2012).
Obesity is clinically relevant because it affects organs and systems in different ways. It can also increase the risk of developing different types of diseases and can contribute to increased early mortality rates in many patients. The risk of cardiovascular diseases is very high in obese persons and furthermore, this condition can contribute to cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases which impact quality of life and wellbeing. Obesity as a public health epidemic requires extensive monitoring and evaluation to promote prevention and to increase weight loss in patients who are obese.
Obesity causes many health complications for patients and can have a significant impact on quality of life and the length of the life span. This issue is problematic for many different population groups. It is important to identify the different causes of obesity and the possible means to improve weight loss. These actions will support the development of programs which will positively impact patient health and wellbeing.
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- Tchernof, A., & Després, J. P. (2013). Pathophysiology of human visceral obesity: an
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