Our indefatigable in-house health guru – Oge Okafor opened the flood gates for agitated people to bombard me with questions, on type 2 diabetes.
The funny aspect was that people who were obese, and read her, instead of battling to lose weight. They regarded it as a fait-accompli, that since they are overweight, then they must develop type 2 diabetes.
• What caused the furore, was that most of them read the “6 suggestions to prevent diabetes “, that was published in Sunday Sun, on December 18, 2016. Majority of them were frightened, by the stated fact that, “of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 85% are overweight “.
• The questions kept coming. “Doc, so if I am fat I must be diabetic ?” “No”, I remonstrated. “Doc, so for being fat, I must develop type 2 diabetes?” “Wrong assumption “, I cautioned. Only one lady’s question made sense. “Doc, I am from a family of large people. My grandmother, mother and elder sister were all diabetic. So what shall I do to prevent me from developing diabetes?” I told her, I shall discuss obesity and diabetes on 1st January(new-year’s day), that she should read me first, then we shall continue our discussions from there.
• The most wearisome aspect of all these, was that those who called me directly, even before I left the church, were very panicky. To compound all these, they knew nothing about normal blood glucose levels, nor what it takes or means to be diabetic.
• Every obese person as a rule of the thump, should know, or do his or her Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), or Random Blood Sugar(RBS), every 6 months. You cannot be obese and be afraid of diabetes, and yet know nothing on how to prevent it.
Now some medical facts.
1) It is a stated medical fact that every male should weigh on average 70kg, but if he is above 6ft tall, then he can weigh 80kg.
2) On the corollary, every female on average should weigh 60kg, but if she is above 6ft tall, then she can weigh 70kg.
3) Body Mass Index(BMI), is the yardstick we use to determine when you are becoming overweight. It is calculated by your body weight in kilograms (kg), divided by your height in metre(m) squared. Let us take the average weight of a man – 70kg, and average height of 1.6m. The BMI becomes 70kg divided by (1.6 X 1.6) = 70/2.56 = 27.34.
Now what are the basic weight interpretations?
a) Normal weight = BMI less than 25.
b) Overweight = BMI from 25 to 29.9.
c) Obesity = BMI from 30 and above.
So if we are above 40 years, we must make conscious efforts to monitor what we eat, here are the reasons;
d) At below 40, your heart could be considered relatively strong, and can carry whatever weight given to it, but not excessive load, which will tire it out even before you reach 40 years.
e) It is not easy to just tell anyone what the person should weigh. So perhaps the best way is just for a person to look himself or herself honestly. Getting fat soon shows up as i) Increased skin fold thickness. ii) A stomach bulge. Or iii) a waist that juts beyond a straight-line between hips and ribs. iv) Another is to compare your present weight with your weight at age 20 – this is when most people are near their ideal adult weight. v) The increase in weight with age, in average tables shows what usually happens, but not what each individual requires.
What are the effects of obesity?
• Overweight people are not just more tired, short of breath, and physically and mentally lethargic, with aching joints and poor digestion. They are also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidney stones, cirrhosis of the liver.
• Obese people also suffer from pneumonia, inflammation of the gall-bladder, arthritis, hernias and varicose veins. Obese people have more accidents, are more likely to die during operations, and have higher rates of mortality in general (including 3 times the mortality from heart and circulatory diseases) .
• Someone who weighs 100kg, when he or she should weigh 70kg, and carries it about as a badge of honour, has his or her life expectancy shortened by 4 years. Obesity is not a sumo-wrestling contest, which translates to the heavier the better. We are talking about life and death for crying out loud.
• Show me an obese fellow, and I will show you a greedy food consumer who has lost it all. Some times I invoke the sense of shame in my patients, by taunting them, that the more kilograms they add the nearer they were to their early graves, which their monstrous obesity has brought forward by 4 years, and it has worked in several instances, including my first Son who is now battling to lose weight.
• Some of the deleterious effects of obesity, arise from mechanical causes the burden of extra weight and it’s particular location as fat deposits. Others arise chemically from the need to supply more body tissues than normal.
Our take this week.
Note that obesity always – without exception – occurs because a person takes in more food energy than he uses up. Let our new year resolutions be to as much as possible bring our weights to 70kg or 80kg – for males. And 60kg or 70kg for females. May God guide you.
Please follow me on twitter; @_DRSUN.