Medical Devices that Treat Obesity

Per federal statistical data, if your doctor has told you that you are overweight (or obese), then you have joined over 68 percent of U.S. population of adults who are also that way.

Obesity contributes to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Your health care provider may offer suggestions on how to alter your eating and exercise habits to help you lose weight.

However, when diet and exercise are not enough, you may have to employ other strategies like invasive surgery, medical devices and prescription medications. Keep in mind that there are pros and cons of using these treatments.

Recently, the FDA approved medical devices to help solve some obesity-related issues (like high blood pressure, for instance).

What FDA-approved devices are used to treat obesity?

In the United States, the FDA has approved specific medical devices as safe and effective for weight loss. Most products can be adjusted or removed when implanted in the body, but some treatments come with risks.

To date, there are four medical devices that are FDA-approved for treating obesity in some patients ages 18 and up: gastric balloons, an electrical stimulation system, gastric bands, and a gastric emptying system. Regardless of which device is used, close monitoring by a health professional is required.

The risks for using each device varies, but common side effects are nausea (or vomiting), infection or bleeding.  Even with these treatments and drastic dietary and exercise life changes, some people may still find it impossible to keep the weight off or even lose it to begin with.

Gastric Balloons

An endoscope (small flexible tube with a light and camera on the end) is used to insert two balloons (or sometimes one is used) filled with saline (salt water) to fill up space in the stomach. After six months, the balloons must be removed.

Electrical Stimulation System

This surgically-implanted device goes into the abdomen and blocks nerve activity between the brain and the stomach. It has electrodes, wire leads, and a rechargeable electrical pulse generator that delivers electrical signals to electrodes. There are external controllers that allows the patient to charge the device and allows the health care provider to adjust the settings.

Gastric Bands

A surgeon implants these bands that restrict the amount of food a person can eat. It also increases digestion time, which also promotes lesser eating.

Gastric Emptying System

This is a recent discovery that uses an endoscope to implant a tube into the stomach that drains part of the stomachs contents into a receptacle between 20 to 30 minutes after a meal. This product is not recommended for people with eating disorders (especially bulimia).

 

Fight Child Obesity

Obesity levels for children are climbing to all-time highs. Schools communities, and parents are getting concerned and trying to helps young people eat healthier meals.

According to registered dietitian Shirley Blakely you need to look at two things in the supermarket aisles which are:

  • The Nutrition label on a product – This shows the number of nutrients based on the daily percentage you need as well as the calories in the food.
  • The ingredients of all packaged and prepared foods on the label – Every ingredient that went into making the product is listed on this label. The predominant ingredients are listed first followed by the others in order.

If your kids eat cereal and there’s a grain in that cereal like oats, or corn listed first, then this indicates that the cereal is healthier. If sugar is listed first, the cereal isn’t that good for your child.

Sugar might not be an additive because fruit for example, are full of natural sugars. If you look on canned fruit labels like pineapple, raisins, or prunes for example, you’ll see sugar listed, but this is because the fruit is full of naturally occurring sugar.

Fresh fruit in the produce aisle doesn’t contain any labels so if you want to know the calories or nutrients then you need to lo ok for the food online.

When you read the label, you need to look at three things:

The serving size— One container isn’t usually regarded as one serving of the food in the package. If you want one serving as listed on the package then you need to measure the food out and eat from a bowl or plate and not directly from the package.

The Percent Daily Value—This tells you what percentage of the recommended daily requirement of each nutrient is contained in one serving of a food. This is based on the amount of each nutrient recommendation for one day. 5 percent or less is considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high.

The Nutrients— You want to choose a wide variety of nutrient dense foods. You want about 20 percent or more of protein, some essential vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C and calcium) and fiber, in a single serving. You want to limit your intake of saturated fats as well as sodium to 5 percent or less per each serving of food. You want 0 trans-fat, or trans-fatty acids.—This is a harmful fat raises (LDL) or your bad cholesterol and lowers the good cholesterol or (HDL).

Eating well at home is just one part of being healthy. About one-third of all calories consumed in the day are eaten out of the home. The FDA wants to move forward with labeling on menu boards and menus for retail food establishments, some chain restaurants, and vending machines too. These new rules would help consumers and provide them with more information on the food choices that they make out of the home

Hormonal Causes Of Obesity

Obesity problems are rising at an alarming rate in modern days. Most people are trying their level best to control weight gain in various ways like dieting, exercises and other prescribed methods.

But the fact is that the causes of obesity must be ascertained before treatment because the increase in weight is due to many causes and not simply to excess eating or laziness.

What are the main causes that lead to obesity?

According to doctors and health specialists obesity is caused when there is lack of balance in the intake of calories and the required amount and also when it is not burned out to generate energy.

The other causes that lead to obesity have been found to be related to:

  1. Genetics: Some are fat and overweight because their parents are obese.
  2. Overeating is another cause of weight gain especially the intake of fast foods and simple carbohydrates that are rich in saturated fats.
  3. Slow metabolism rate also causes obesity in many individuals.
  4. Lack of physical activities cause weight gain especially in those persons who are into desk work. Regular exercises is a must for such people.
  5. Certain medications are also responsible for obesity namely the anti-depressant pills, etc.

Another important internal problem that causes obesity is hormonal causes. In most cases, we assume that excess of sugar intake or lack of exercises or may be psychological factors are the root causes of excess weight and overlook the hormonal aspects of the body.

Hormonal causes of obesity

There are certain hormones in the body that cause obesity. They are namely:

  • Leptin, sex hormones and growth hormones are responsible for metabolism, appetite and distribution of fat in the body according to requirements. When the levels of these hormones are disturbed, metabolism rate is slow and proper functioning of the body is hampered leading to accumulation of fat.
  • Insulin is important for distribution of carbohydrates and metabolism of fat. When this important hormone signals are lost and the tissues cannot control the glucose levels, fat accumulates especially around the mid-section of the body and the person suffers from Diabetes.
  • Sex hormones are responsible for distributing body fat in humans. Post menopausal women often gain weight due to the disturbance of these hormones like oestrogens and androgens.
  • Growth hormones also cause obesity in those people who have a lower rate than others of normal weight.

Hence it is important to determine the causes of obesity and then take necessary measures to burn excess weight and prevent weight gain.

Fast Weight Loss for Obesity

Obesity is something that’s killing more and more people around the world. It doesn’t have to be this way. It can be a thing of the past. Let’s face it. Being overweight isn’t good for anyone. It’s only going to cause you long term health problems. This is why it’s important that you work on losing weight today. You’re not going to want to live the same lifestyle that you have been. The reason for that isn’t just yourself. It’s also for your family. You want to be healthy for them. The only way to do that is by losing weight.

The very first thing you need to do is get up off the couch. People think that to lose weight they need a membership to an expensive gym. That’s not the truth. The best exercise is walking. It doesn’t cost one single red cent to put one foot in front of the other. Get out there and walk at least a half hour per day. Don’t stop at just a half hour. You can walk for an hour or two. Bring your kids along too. They’ll benefit from the exercise. It’ll also help you improve your bond with them. This alone makes it all worthwhile.

Weight Loss Products

Then there are prescription drugs. You’re going to want to think twice about this method of weight loss. As prescription drugs can have side effects. Make sure that you talk to your doctor about all the possible side effects. A good doctor will be upfront with you. They’ll let you know what the side effects are and if the medication is right for you. These can be strong and possibly habit forming drugs. This is why great consideration must be taken before starting any prescription weight loss medication.

There are an ever increasing amount of nonprescription weight loss drugs. These are all natural weight loss medications that don’t require a prescription from a doctor. These can be an effective means for weight loss. All without the harsh side effects of prescription medication. You should make sure to read the labels carefully even when taking natural medications. It’s even a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking them. As some all natural remedies can interact with prescription drugs.

The last thing we’re going to talk about is weight loss surgery. There are several surgical procedures that can be done to help you lose weight. This should be your very last resort. As surgery poses many risks and even death. It’s for this reason that surgery should only be an option for those that are morbidly obese. The risk isn’t worth the reward for the average person that’s just slightly overweight. It’s only for those people who are at least several hundred pounds overweight. Simply put, this is only an option for those who lives are in danger from their obesity.

It should be noted that weight loss isn’t impossible. Even though it can certainly feel like it is. Millions of people around the globe lose weight each and every year. It takes dedication and effort. Find the strength and will to do it from those who you love the most. Never forget they want you around for as long as possible. They only way that’s going to happen is if you lose the weight. Change your life today and never look back. Lose the weight for yourself and those that love you. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.

Acrylamide in Your Diet

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may already be telling your waiter to hold the fries. Now there’s another health benefit you can reap: Cutting down on certain fried foods can also help you cut down on the amount of acrylamide you eat. That’s a good thing because high levels of acrylamide have been found to cause cancer in animals, and on that basis scientists believe it is likely to cause cancer in humans as well.

FDA chemist Lauren Robin explains that acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods—mainly plant-based foods—during high-temperature cooking processes like frying and baking. These include potatoes, cereals, coffee, crackers or breads, dried fruits and many other foods. According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, acrylamide is found in 40 percent of the calories consumed in the average American diet.

While acrylamide has probably been around as long as people have been baking, roasting, toasting or frying foods, it was only in 2002 that scientists first discovered the chemical in food. Since then, the FDA has been actively investigating the effects of acrylamide as well as potential measures to reduce it. Today, the FDA posts a draft document with practical strategies to help growers, manufacturers and food service operators lower the amount of acrylamide in foods associated with higher levels of the chemical.

In addition, there are a number of steps you and your family can take to cut down on the amount of acrylamide in the foods you eat.

Acrylamide forms from sugars and an amino acid that are naturally present in food. It does not form, or forms at lower levels, in dairy, meat and fish products. The formation occurs when foods are cooked at home and in restaurants as well as when they are made commercially.

“Generally speaking, acrylamide is more likely to accumulate when cooking is done for longer periods or at higher temperatures,” Robin says. Boiling and steaming foods do not typically form acrylamide.

Tips for Cutting Down on Acrylamide

Given the widespread presence of acrylamide in foods, it isn’t feasible to completely eliminate acrylamide from one’s diet, Robin says. Nor is it necessary. Removing any one or two foods from your diet would not have a significant effect on overall exposure to acrylamide.

However, here are some steps you can take to help decrease the amount of acrylamide that you and your family consume:

  • Frying causes acrylamide formation. If frying frozen fries, follow manufacturers’ recommendations on time and temperature and avoid overcooking, heavy crisping or burning.
  • Toast bread to a light brown color rather than a dark brown color. Avoid very brown areas.
  • Cook cut potato products such as frozen french fries to a golden yellow color rather than a brown color. Brown areas tend to contain more acrylamide.
  • Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, which can increase acrylamide during cooking. Keep potatoes outside the refrigerator in a dark, cool place, such as a closet or a pantry.

FDA also recommends that you adopt a healthy eating plan, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including:

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products.
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
  • Choose foods low in saturated fats, trans fat (which both raises your bad LDL cholesterol and lowers your good HDL cholesterol and is linked to heart attacks), cholesterol, salt and added sugars.

Appetite or Hunger?

Suppressing your appetite should be done with a great caution. The first thing you should know is a difference between appetite and hunger.

Problems arise because we generally have two reasons for eating. The first is hunger and the second is appetite. Aren’t hunger and appetite the same thing, you may be asking. Not at all. Hunger is completely different from appetite.

  • Hunger is defined as the ‘need for food.’ Your body lets you know you’re running low on fuel and that a meal is needed to provide your body with the necessary energy (food) it needs to perform an activity. Hunger instinctively protects the body from depleting energy reserves.
  • Appetite, on the other hand, is defined as the ‘desire for food.’ Imagine seeing a sumptuous photograph of a pasta dish or smelling freshly-made donuts while driving by a donut shop. These stimuli easily result to salivation and a tingling sensation in the pit of your stomach that aggressively urges you to grab a bite. This is appetite.

In order to lose weight, you have to control your appetite. One of the major explanations why so many individuals are overweight is simply because they over eat. To shed extra pounds, you will undoubtedly want to manage your urge for food, in other words, you have to eat meals in moderation.

Weight Loss: Obesity Treatment

Our body weight is determined by the amount of energy that we take in as food and the amount of energy we expend in the activities of our day. Energy is measured in calories. If your weight remains constant, you are probably taking in the same amount of calories that you burn each day. If you’re slowly gaining weight over time, it is likely that your caloric intake is greater than the number of calories you burn through your daily activities.

Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is more than just a cosmetic concern, though. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. You should always consider obesity treatment if you are overweight.

Long-Term Weight Control

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity contributes to a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol.

To help obese and overweight Americans who have been unsuccessful in getting their weight under control with diet and exercise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two new medications—the first drugs for long-term weight management that FDA has approved in 13 years.

Marketed as Belviq and Qsymia, these prescription medications would be taken for the rest of a person’s life. “For many people, obesity is a life-long condition, but we don’t always think of it—or treat it—as such,” says Amy Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for safety in FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP).

“Qsymia and Belviq are considered life-long therapies in patients who respond to and tolerate them,” says Egan.

The drugs are meant to be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise, says Mary Roberts, M.D., a medical officer in DMEP. “These drugs are another tool to be used by someone trying to reach and stay at a healthy weight,” she says.

How Do They Work?

Belviq—the trade name for the drug lorcaserin— is a 10 mg tablet taken twice a day that works by activating a part of the brain that controls hunger.

Belviq was tested in three clinical trials that lasted from 52 to 104 weeks and included nearly 8,000 obese and overweight patients.

  • The average weight loss for patients taking Belviq ranged from 3 to 3.7 percent over those taking a placebo.
  • In studies of patients without type 2 diabetes, about 47 percent of patients lost at least 5 percent of their weight compared with 23 percent of patients treated with placebo.

Belviq should be discontinued if a patient fails to lose 5 percent of their weight after 12 weeks of treatment, as it is unlikely that continued treatment will be successful.

Qsymia is a combination of two FDA-approved drugs: phentermine, an appetite suppressant, and topiramate, used to treat epilepsy and migraines. Roberts explains that Qsymia is taken once a day, with patients starting at the lowest dose (3.75 mg phentermine/23 mg topiramate extended-release), then increasing to the recommended dose (7.5 mg/46 mg). In some circumstances, patients may have their dose increased to the highest dose (15 mg/92 mg).

Qsymia, was tested in two clinical trials which included nearly 3,700 obese and overweight patients treated for up to one year.

  • The average weight loss of patients taking Qsymia ranged from 6.7 percent (lowest dose) to 8.9 percent (recommended dose) over those taking a placebo.
  • Sixty-two percent of patients on the lowest dose and 70 percent on the recommended dose lost at least 5 percent of their weight compared with 20 percent treated with placebo.

If after 12 weeks, a patient has not lost 3 percent of his or her weight on the recommended dose of Qsymia, FDA recommends that treatment be discontinued or increased to the highest dose.  If after an additional 12 weeks on the highest dose, a patient does not lose at least 5 percent of weight, Qsymia should be discontinued gradually.

Gastric Bands

FDA has approved two gastric bands: Lap-Band, by Allergan Inc., and Realize Adjustable Gastric Band, by Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. These devices are implanted around the upper part of the stomach to create a “pouch.” The small pouch limits the amount of food that can be eaten at one time, making you feel full faster and potentially lose weight.

Both bands are approved for use in adults age 18 and older who have not lost weight with non-surgical methods, such as diet, exercise or behavior modification, and have a BMI of at least 35 (217 pounds at 5-foot-6 inches) and at least one health condition linked to obesity, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Allergan’s Lap-Band is also approved for those with a BMI of 30 to 34 who have a health condition related to their obesity.

The Risks

“Surgery itself has risks, including death, and those risks are heightened for people who are obese,” says Herbert Lerner, M.D., a general surgeon and supervisory medical officer at FDA.

There are risks after the surgery, too, including

  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty swallowing
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • upset stomach or pain
  • stretching of the stomach pouch
  • stretching of the esophagus
  • moving of the gastric band, requiring another surgery to reposition it
  • erosion of the band through the stomach wall and into the stomach, requiring another surger