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Individualized combination approach is key to treat obesity as a disease

Obesity is not caused by one single reason. It is triggered by multiple different reasons, therefore finding a single silver bullet that is going to treat obesity is probably not the best way to approach it. For example, various studies show that obesity is mainly linked to the central nervous system, with subcortical areas of the brain being the main focal point of treatment. In the treatment of obesity, cerebral areas of the brain may also play a part. Changes in the subcortical areas of the brain may have an effect on the cerebral areas because of the interconnectedness of the brain. The best source is hunger. What you will find is that if anyone has the biological drive that makes them feel more hungry or prevents them from feeling fulfilled after a meal, they have increased food-seeking habits, so-called appetitive tendencies, and thus all food looks appealing. High-calorie-dense foods feel far more appealing, which is not good. This means treatment will be required with a combination of methods, to properly treat obesity.  There is no point concentrating on the subcortical areas of cerebral areas alone. We also have to think about how we can combine the whole brain, both the subcortical and cerebral regions, with cognitive-behavioral therapy and other approaches.

The first step to undermining obesity is to combat false assumptions many patients and physicians have regarding weight loss or being obese. They are that weight loss is a matter of “calories in, calories out and obesity is only due to the behavior of patients. Others believe that reducing weight is all about adjusting habits for diet and exercise. Other factors contribute a lot to the causes of obesity, such as genetics and behavioral elements. There are things about the body that go wrong that perpetuate issues with weight.

How a normal physician’s approach should be to treat obesity?

Experts suggest applying the five A’s used for smoking cessation to obesity when approaching obese patients: ask, advise, assess, assist, and arrange. This gives doctors a structure within which to act. If obesity is something they are interested in talking about, begin by asking the patient. It plants the seed for the future even if the patient is not involved. Physicians will inform patients after measuring the BMI of the patient whether it is in a range that may lead to their medical issues. She also brings up the correlation between genetic and hormone weight gain and seeks to find a satisfactory balance between presenting medical data and discussing lifestyle variables. 

Primary care clinics will create a model of therapy that can be individualized for each patient. An action plan should be included in the patient chart, which indicates what the patient can do to increase physical activity. The doctor will have dietary choices with a handout that can provide meal replacement plans etc. A primary care physician does not provide all obesity dietary advice and behavioral support, but may control height, weight, and BMI, and encourage patients to maintain a healthy weight. A three month trial of lifestyle interventions should be proposed.

Individualizing approaches

Providers with a step-by-step care plan will use it to find an appropriate treatment. With self-directed lifestyle changes, a traditional treatment plan starts. If that doesn’t work, it is possible to incorporate professionally driven lifestyle improvements. Providers should add drugs for weight loss if lifestyle improvements are not adequate. Weight-loss surgery will be the next choice, followed by a combination of treatments if drugs do not yield the desired results. It is important to ensure that each person with obesity knows that obesity is a disease and not to blame them for getting it. It will help to promote a better partnership and trust between those with obesity and physicians by sharing this.

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