Obesity can cause a number of health problems that affect different processes in the body. The gastrointestinal system is one of the most common places for obesity-related issues to emerge. It’s helpful to understand the link between obesity and gastrointestinal health so that you can contact your gastroenterologist promptly if you suspect an issue.
A Guide to Obesity & Gastrointestinal Health
What Is Obesity?
Obesity refers to the presence of excess fat in the body. The NIH defines obesity as having a BMI (body mass index) of 30.0 or above. Carrying extra weight can put people at risk for a variety of serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, gastric discomfort, and sleep apnea. It’s not just consuming excess fat that leads to obesity; risk factors such as metabolism, genetics, and lifestyle habits also play a significant role.
How Does It Impact the Gastrointestinal System?
Several conditions associated with the gastrointestinal system may be related to obesity. Some of the most common conditions include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diarrhea, gallstones, and some types of cancer. GERD is particularly prevalent; it can cause symptoms like heartburn, nausea, excessive belching, and frequent coughing or throat clearing. Cancer, meanwhile, could be due to an increase of inflammation in the body, which is more common in obese individuals. Since symptoms of one condition can often mirror another, gastroenterologists often must perform a battery of tests to determine the exact cause.
How Can You Manage Obesity?
Taking actionable steps to manage will help you avoid obesity-related health issues. Under the care of a medical professional, make realistic changes to your diet and physical fitness routine. Aim to exercise just a little bit every day, slowly increasing the frequency and intensity as you solidify this habit. Avoid foods high in fat and calories. Instead, replace them with filling meals that consist largely of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins. Drink plenty of water before meals, and sip it throughout the day. It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, and regular water consumption can help quell hunger pangs.
Are you seeking a reliable gastroenterologist in Prospect, CT? Visit Naugatuck Valley Gastroenterology Consultants. These professionals are committed to your health, and they offer a variety of services designed to accurately diagnose and treat your concerns. They treat digestive disorders, perform colon cancer screenings, endoscopies, colonoscopies, and more. Visit the GI doctors online for information, or call them at (203) 756-6422 to schedule an appointment.