Obesity is a medical condition. It not only affects your shape and figure, but can also bring you higher risks of getting health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
How do I know if I am overweight or obese?
An index called Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to define overweight and obesity according to your weight and height. If your BMI is between 25 to 30, you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over 30, you are considered to have obesity.
The formula is BMI = kg/m2 where kg is your weight in kilograms and m2 is your height in metres squared. You can calculate yourself to see if you are overweight or not.
FDA-approved Prescription Medications
FDA now approves 5 drugs to treat obesity in a long term. These 5 drugs are:
Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
Before starting to take any of the following drugs, it is very important for you to know the possible side effects and the things you need to pay attention to:
|Medication||Approved for||Possible Side Effects|
Children over 12
leakage of oily stools
taste changes, especially with carbonated beverages
tingling of your hands and feet
increased blood pressure
increased heart rate
Precautions: If you are pregnant or you are planning to have a baby, you should NEVER take any weight-loss medicines.
Last but not the least, Liraglutide (Saxenda) is a little bit different from other 4 medicines as it is injectable! (To learn more, you can click here: Can the New FDA-Approved Saxenda Really Help You Lose Weight?)
FDA-approved Weight-Loss Devices
Except for medicines, there are now 4 FDA-regulated devices that can help you treat obesity. They are:
Gastric Band. Some bands will be placed around the top portion of the stomach to leave only a small portion available for food.
Electrical Stimulation Systems. An electrical stimulator will be placed in the abdomen to block nerve activity between the brain and stomach, making you feel less hungry or full sooner.
Gastric Balloon Systems. Some inflatable balloons will be placed in the stomach to take up space and delay gastric emptying.
Gastric Emptying Systems. A tube will be inserted between the stomach and outside of abdomen to drain food after eating.
Precautions: Before using any kind of devices, you should first consult your doctor to see if you have an eating disorder. If you have an eating disorder that hasn’t been diagnosed and treated, you may have serious health problems when using weight-loss devices.
In some cases, your doctor may want to monitor a certain weight-loss device closely when you are using in order to see that if you have an eating disorder.
If you have an injury or there is a problem with the device when using, you can file a report by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online at MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.
If you ever have an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.
A Healthy Lifestyle Is Always Important
Although prescribing medicine and recommending devices can treat obesity or help you lose weight, a healthy lifestyle that includes reducing energy intake and increasing physical activity may also do magic.
In addition, some medical devices also require lifestyle changes. For example, gastric bands and gastric balloon systems require patients to eat much less at one sitting or they may have some health problems.
When your doctor tell you that you no longer need prescription medicine or device to treat obesity, it doesn't mean that you can eat whatever you like or eat a lot at one sitting, instead, you will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.