They warn of an increase in pathologies linked to obesity

They warn of an increase in pathologies linked to obesity

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Obesity and the multiple pathologies derived from this serious health problem have become one of the greatest challenges of the Spanish health system. During the last months there has been an increase in consultations related to it, a reality that is also confirmed by the Endocrinology and Nutrition service of the HM Rosaleda Hospital. Thus, more and more people come to the Compostela center with conditions linked to being overweight.

According to data from the National Health Survey, there is a progressive and constant increase in obesity rates, which have gone from 7.7% in 1987 to 16% in 2020. To this is added that 44.9% of men and 30.6% of women are overweight.

“The situation is especially serious if we take into account that not only is the rate of obesity increasing, but that the greatest increase occurs in the most extreme degree of the disease, the so-called morbid obesity,” explains Dr. Ana Sánchez Bao, a specialist at the Hospital of the Galician capital. Within this panorama, Galicia, together with Andalusia and the Canary Islands, presents one of the highest figures in the national territory.

In any case, the situation becomes even more serious observing its affectation in minors, since it is “a major public health problem, which does not stop increasing worldwide,” he warns. In Spain, the prevalence of child and adolescent obesity is estimated at between 13.9 and 18.4%.

Physical and emotional problems. Derived from this disease, the HM Rosaleda service warns that the consequences are numerous, from mechanical complications (mobility or joint problems such as back pain, osteoarthritis of the knees or hips), obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux or even venous insufficiency, among other. In addition, they point out, cardiometabolic complications such as diabetes, arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular diseases and fatty liver are increasingly frequent.

“There is more and more data that relates obesity as a risk factor for the development of various types of cancer,” says the specialist from Compostela.

Added to this is the delay in diagnosis and treatment. “Obesity has important consequences in the emotional and social sphere. Many of the patients living with obesity suffer from the stigma associated with the disease, which worsens the problem by delaying seeking medical attention, in addition to the emotional stress it generates for them”, indicates the doctor.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver. Related to obesity and diabetes, experts also point out that a very common disorder is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, estimated to affect around 25% of adults and almost 5% of children. These are not only a risk factor for the development of the pathology, but also for its progression to more advanced forms.

This disorder is characterized by the appearance of fatty deposits in the liver, although it covers a wide spectrum of problems ranging from “fatty deposits in the liver to situations in which inflammation occurs that can lead to liver cirrhosis and, in a minority of cases, even in hepatocellular carcinoma”, points out the specialist.

In this line, they warn that the majority of patients are asymptomatic or present non-specific symptoms such as mild discomfort in the right hypochondrium or asthenia. For this reason, in the diagnostic process, they explain, it is necessary to rule out other liver conditions and assess the risk of fibrosis and progression in each case, hence the need to see a specialist to detect the disease at the earliest possible stage and avoid reach extreme situations that, on the other hand, are increasingly frequent.

To treat it, HM Rosaleda has state-of-the-art technology, a new ultrasound machine that allows liver fibroscans to study this pathology, a non-invasive diagnostic technique that is fast, painless and is performed without anesthesia. In addition, in a high percentage of cases it avoids having to perform a liver biopsy on the patient and the risks that this entails.

In addition to the diagnostic equipment and state-of-the-art treatments, the Endocrinology and Nutrition specialists at HM Hospitales stress the importance of preventing the cause of all pathologies associated with overweight and obesity, opting for a Mediterranean diet and an active life, which includes 150 to 250 minutes of exercise per week with cardiovascular activity (adapting the intensity to each person) and resistance training for each major muscle group.

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