Obesity is a chronic condition affecting up to 19.7% of Americans. If ignored, it can worsen, leading to more pounds over the recommended weight. In this case, the patient can slip into class III obesity, which complicates physical functions like walking or breathing. At Enara Health we are working to provide treatment solutions for doctors and their patients.
Previously referred to as morbid obesity, class III affects 9.2% of adults with obesity, with men accounting for most of the cases (34%). With patients getting to extreme obesity levels unawarely, it’s the role of doctors to monitor their patients’ weight and recommends effective measures for weight control.
Defining Class III Obesity
Obesity is a complex health condition involving an increase in body fat. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity occurs when a patient’s body mass index (BMI) is over 30. This problem affects adults and children, with over 4 million people dying yearly.
On the other hand, class III obesity is a severe case of obesity where a patient has 100 more pounds above their ideal body weight. It’s also known as severe obesity. In terms of BMI, morbidly obese patients have a BMI of 40 or higher.
Class III obesity is one of the three classes of obesity and the most severe case. For comparison, the BMI of class I obesity ranges from 30 to 34.9 kg/m², while that of class II obesity ranges from 35.0 to 39.9 kg/m².
BMI has been the standard screening tool for diagnosing obesity or overweight cases. It measures the ratio of the patient’s height to their weight. While BMI is ideal for calculating weight, it doesn’t tell if a patient’s weight is due to excess fat or muscles.
Causes of Class III Obesity
In typical cases, class III obesity occurs due to the increase of fat in the body and leading a sedentary lifestyle. When calories are not used, the body stores them as fat. Over time, the patient gets overweight, and their weight slowly increases if all factors remain constant.
Genetic factors can determine a patient’s appetite, metabolism, fat-storing ability, and even activity levels. If a patient’s obesity is due to genetic factors, research shows that interventions like dieting and exercising are unlikely to be effective.
Obesity can also occur due to certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Cushing syndrome, and medications, such as anti-depressants.
Health Risks Associated with Class III Obesity
Without proper treatment and lifestyle changes, class III obesity can lead to different health conditions, such as stroke, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, heart disease, hypertension, GERD, and mental health problems.
It can also lead to certain cancers such as kidney, gallbladder, colon, uterine, and breast. Other health complications include lower back pain, leg venous problems, shortness of breath, and urinary incontinence.
Remember that a patient’s risk for these conditions increases with weight. In fact, over 80% of patients with diabetes are likely to be obese or overweight. Patients with class III obesity are likely to have two or more health complications.
Treatment Options for Class III Obesity
There are several approaches that doctors can recommend for patients with class III obesity. In most cases, the treatment plan is usually a combination of different interventions to ensure sustainable weight loss management.
- Lifestyle changes: Patients need to make lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, leading an active lifestyle, and adopting a healthy diet or special diets like intermittent fasting. There are apps that they can use to set goals and monitor their progress.
- Bariatric surgery: Surgery is usually the recommended option for extreme cases, and a patient can undergo bariatric surgery to make changes to the digestive system. Patients usually lose weight quickly after the procedure but can regain some later.
- Medications: In some cases, healthy eating and physical activity might be quite effective. In this case, doctors can prescribe medications. Most patients usually notice results after 12 to 24 months of using weight loss medications.
- Psychological therapy: A patient can also undergo intensive behavioral treatment to lose weight. The therapy helps in changing lifestyle habits that contribute to increased weight.
At Enara Health, we provide a sustainable approach to weight management. We work with clinics that offer insurance-covered obesity care to help their patients achieve their weight loss goals. Members get personalized plans based on their individual needs to ensure a holistic approach.
The approach considers multiple factors, including diet, hormones, medications, genetics, and emotional health. More importantly, it involves the input of different specialists, including medical, nutritional, exercise, and behavioral health specialists.
Improve Obesity Care with Virtual Programs
With the increasing cases of obesity, it’s easy for some patients to slip into class III obesity, worsening their quality of life and exposing them to different health conditions. Class III obesity is a severe form of obesity with a BMI of 40 or more.
Enara offers a virtual weight management program that’s patient-oriented. We work with clinics and doctors to deliver science-based, compassionate, holistic weight management that uses data to match patients with the proper medications.