Weight-loss has once again been in the news in recent weeks with the arrival of a new medication, in the form of a tablet, that some researchers have suggested might be useful for weight loss. The tablet remains un-tested and unapproved in the UK, but that hasn’t stopped the story gaining a lot of attention.
As ever, with weight loss stories, it generated a lot of interest in the mainstream press because it comes at a time when we are suffering from a UK obesity epidemic, with up to a third of adults obese and another third overweight. These definitions are based on a BMI (body mass index).
A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 puts you in the overweight range, whilst one of between 30 and 39.9 means you’re in the obese range.
Obesity underlies a lot of the health issues we see in primary care in the UK. Obesity makes it both more likely that you will develop a range of health issues and at the same time makes it more difficult to treat these issues: diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, heart disease, kidney disease and strokes are just some of the conditions caused by and exacerbated by being overweight.
Being overweight also puts extra strain on the joints, so you can develop arthritis, especially in the knees and hips. Sleep apnoea, where you stop breathing in your sleep, waking you repeatedly, is another common side effect of obesity and one which can leave you chronically tired.
Obesity also has a big range of psychological effects, leaving people depressed and socially isolated in an era when there has never been more pressure to look good.
TREATMENT OF OBESITY
The treatment of obesity can be difficult, but the underlying principle of how the body handles the food we eat helps to explain it. Our bodies convert most of the food we eat into an energy molecule called glucose. If we are able to expend all the glucose the body has converted from food we will not gain weight. But, if there is a surplus that is not expended, the body converts it to fat. So, to lose weight, you must watch your diet and, simply, use more glucose than the body is converting from the food you are eating. This is why dieting is effective.
As well as adjusting your diet, getting physically active is also vital for weight loss. This increases the amount of glucose we use up, helping to eliminate the storage of surpluses.
There is currently a weight loss tablet available on the NHS called orlistat which has some significant side effects for some patients and also seems to have a hit and miss effectiveness. It reduces the amount of fat that the body disgests and to be really effective needs to be combined with lifestyle changes.
HOW OUR WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAMME TREATS OBESITY SIMPLY AND EFFECTIVELY
Our new weight-loss service is based on a series of self-administered injections, roughly one every 2 weeks. These injections suppress the appetite and are a very cost effective and practical treatment. You simply make an appointment and visit our clinic for some simple blood tests and then you take away a package that will last you several weeks.
Whereas the new treatments we’ve recently seen in the news are both pricey and unproven, our treatment is cheaper, requires less medication (bi-weekly injections instead of daily pills) and is likely to lead to faster weight loss.
But, even with our new weight-loss treatment, you will need to make basic lifestyle changes, including a sensible diet and increased physical activity.
All our weight-loss patients will be treated holistically, meaning that as well as the medication, we will discuss your lifestyle and diet and suggest a range of changes you can make to improve the chances of the treatment working as effectively as possible.
As a GP surgery, we are also very well placed to advise you on any other, possibly linked, medical conditions we identify during the treatment. We also have all the necessary pre-treatment testing facilities in-house, which means a speedy turn-round of the blood tests required ahead of all treatments of this kind.
Why not find out more about our weight-loss programme!