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Obesity Is A Disease

Discussion in 'The OT' started by Drucifer, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Jun 19, 2013 #21 of 114
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Obesity, whether a disease by strict definition or not, is a major health problem in many parts of America. We are all paying for it, too, and will be paying for it in increasing amounts, wether or not we have Obamacare.
     
  2. Jun 19, 2013 #22 of 114
    houskamp

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    I have 4 cousins (all same parents, all girls).. one works at holding her weight down and while not thin, is a normal weight.. rest are over 400#s..

    really sad part is one of the 3 lost 180# once and got down to a reasonable weight.. then gave up and put it all back on..
     
  3. Jun 20, 2013 #23 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Those who wish to live with the condition often think of it as a choice. I could stop drinking if I wanted to ... I could stop drugs if I wanted to ... I could be thin if I wanted to. But I'm happy being the drunk, high, obese person I am. And being happy is all that is important, isn't it? How dare anyone say a drunk, high, obese person has a disease!

    There is a compulsion involved. People who know that their lives could be better if they were not zoned out by drugs and/or alcohol or too fat to participate fully in life. And despite that knowledge and desire to be clean and thinner cannot simply change who they are.

    A few weeks ago I went to Clingman's Dome. I almost didn't make it to the top. Being out of shape got in the way of me enjoying life. And I'm one of the healthier people in my extended family. It got me thinking about the things people have to give up because of health problems ... even "self inflicted" ones.

    One may think that it is a choice, but for many it is a choice that they need help with. Personally I like being able to walk around WalMart without getting winded. I have extended family that can't do that ... they borrow the motorized carts so they can get around the store. One relative even has one at home. All because their legs can no longer support their weight. They need help.

    I see the same sort of comments about mental illness ... somehow when someone breaks a leg or gets cancer people see it as a treatable problem that can be solved (even cancer has survivors now). But if someone has a mental illness many cannot see a solution other than to expect the person to simply stop having the problem. There are a lot of people who simply cannot stop drinking ... cannot stop using drugs ... cannot stop being overweight to the point of obesity. If a correctable chemical imbalance can cause a mental condition why can't such a problem cause obesity?

    A choice? I wish it always was.
     
  4. Jun 20, 2013 #24 of 114
    phrelin

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    Dictionary.com defines "disease" as "a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors." Is obesity a "disease" by the dictionary definition? Hey, if it is the result of a "nutritional imbalance" by definition it is a disease.

    They called it cardiovascular disease when I went in for bypass surgery after my second heart attack. The cause? A pathogen? No.

    There were two factors - being overweight coupled with a family history of cardiovascular disease which implies genetics.

    In other words, genetics and compulsive personal behavior (overeating) caused a "disease." So "obesity". which was a cause of my cardiovascular disease, is itself a disease which seems circular.

    It all has to do with language. The traditional common understanding of the term "disease" related to pathogens may be outdated. Let's not fight the definition as we may be showing a prejudice. But....

    I have some concerns about how loose we get with our language when associated with the medical industry.

    My urologist/surgeon assured me that after my radical prostatectomy that they likely had "cured" my disease. I upset him by pointing out that he most certainly did not. I explained that cutting off an infected leg is not curing the disease - only by eliminating the infection using antibiotics is there a cure. Cutting out a cancer ridden organ is not curing a disease. Genetic treatments that suppress or eliminate the cancer is potential real cure akin to antibiotics. You don't have "a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ" if you don't have the organ. But the disease wasn't cured IMHO.

    How does one cure obesity? In some cases, through replacement hormones. In other cases diet and exercise. And, of course, there are some surgeries which aren't a cure, just a substitute for the cure we don't yet have,surgeries that may or may not be successful.

    But who am I to argue with the American Medical Association? If they say something is a disease and it even fits within the framework of the Dictionary.com definition, it must be a disease. After all, it's only language. :sure:
     
  5. Jun 20, 2013 #25 of 114
    Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

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    Unfavorable environmental factors -- In this case the environmental factors are man made. We are swamp with places that sell unhealthy food stuffs. Even our schools today serve a huge variety of bad food stuffs.
     
  6. Jun 20, 2013 #26 of 114
    MysteryMan

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    Sorry Jim, but I disagree. In my youth most drunk drivers were let off the hook because they were "intoxicated" and couldn't be held responsible. It took years for society to wise up and realize drunk drivers "chose" to become drunk and therefore should be held responsible. No one is forced into becoming a alcoholic or drug addict. Alcoholism and drug addiction are "self inflicted" conditions. While there are genetic and medical conditions that cause "some" people to become obese "most" people get that way because of improper diet and lack of exercise and that's another example of a "self inflicted" condition. Calling it a disease is sugar coating.
     
  7. Jun 20, 2013 #27 of 114
    djlong

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    So, by that Dictionary.com definition, Downes Syndrome is a disease? A genetic disorder by any other name is still a disorder.

    The base of my objection is that people hear the word "disease" and the word "excuse" show up right after. Now, sometimes, that's not bad. If you have the flu, you have a perfectly reasonable excuse for not going to work. All obesity a disease and people will use that terminology as an excuse to maintain their unhealthy lifestyle. Very VERY few people actually HAVE a condition that aggravates obesity that much - my ex-wife being one of them (she's on thyroid medication for the rest of her life)
     
  8. Jun 20, 2013 #28 of 114
    SamC

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    Obesity is not a disease. It is a lifestyle choice. ALL Americans have (no matter what preachy inaccurate PSAs from the government or the AARP tell you) access to more food than they need to live on.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/12/food-stamp-recipients-mor_n_257327.html

    If not, then please show me the obese among the 50% of the world's population that lives on less than $1/day. A "disease" would just as likely be "caught" by someone in Bangladesh or Zambia, right?

    Alcoholism is also a lifestyle choice. As is smoking or any other risky behavior you care to name.

    A "disease" is something you have no control over. Caused by either a virus (germ, whatever), a genetic flaw (MS, most cancers, etc), substance exposure (asbestos, etc).

    One can "cure" obesity by one's own choices. Simply eat less and work more. One cannot cure a disease by one's own choice (try deciding you don't have a tumor and see wher that goes).
     
  9. Jun 20, 2013 #29 of 114
    Upstream

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    Is high cholesterol a disease? Certainly there is a genetic component, but there is a much bigger lifestyle component for most people. Most people with high cholesterol could control their cholesterol through diet and exercise. But by classifying high cholesterol as a disease, there is a standard of care that has physicians test and treat high cholesterol (and has insurance companies pay for the testing and treatment), which can help prevent more serious problems that high cholesterol is believed to cause.


    The same thing with obesity. Sure most people could control their weight through diet and exercise. But by classifying it as a disease, it allows creation of a standard of care (which could include medication that could help slow or prevent the onset of diabetes).
     
  10. Jun 20, 2013 #30 of 114
    Phil T

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    Six months ago I would have agreed it is a disease. Today I don't.

    I am 5' 9.5" and weighed 213 lbs in October. I have been over 200 lbs for 25 years. In January my doctor told me he would give me until tax day to lose weight or he would diagnose me as diabetic.

    By tax day I had lost 43 lbs. Today I have lost 52 and weigh 161.

    The doctor said all numbers looked good and see you next year!

    I have spent $0 on weight loss and exercise programs. It is a mind set. You have to want to do it.
    I still eat out a lot. I still eat food I like.

    All I did was start watching (not counting) calories and walking 30 minutes, 4 days a week.
    I did for the most part give up french fries and get salads instead. I still eat out to much but you can get good salads at most places. I also quit putting cheese on everything.

    You can still have the stuff you want. I noticed 2 McDonalds hamburgers are 500 calories. A quarter pounder with cheese is 520. so if you want one occasionally, go for it.
    Get chili and a salad at Wendy's. Get a Chick FIl A sandwich and a salad. Watch the dressings. Some are over 100 calories. Lite italian is 20.

    Make a big pot of vegetable soup and eat it for several meals. Keep cut up carrots and celery handy and if you get hungry, eat as much as you want.
    You can have ice cream and cookies, but look at how many calories is in each serving and adjust.

    It is not really that hard. My wife joined me after about a month and has lost 53 lbs. We log nothing and just try to get a 30 minute walk in every day.

    It has to be something you want to do and you have to be in the right mind set to do it. I wish I had done it 25 years ago. I am now 61 and hope this change keeps me around a few more years.

    BTW I have maintained my weight + or - 3 pounds since May 1st. This includes taking two vacation trips since I started.
     
  11. Jun 20, 2013 #31 of 114
    AntAltMike

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    The first time I got pulled while driving after having had a few too many, the cop saw I was only slightly drunk and let me sober up in his car for an hour or so, and then let me drive off with just the ticket for doing 35 in a 50.
     
  12. Jun 20, 2013 #32 of 114
    Rich

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    Just went thru the calculations and charts and I was wrong, you're right (this happens to me all the time). I should have read your post more carefully. I just barely hit the obese level too.

    Whether obesity is a "disease" or not should not be the point. The point should be how easy it is to lose weight. I've read so many books about weight loss that I've come to this conclusion: Any diet that you can stay on for the rest of your life will work. The easiest thing to do, by far, is count calories. In the end, all my reading led back to this. Stay around 2,000 calories a day and you'll end up about where you should be. If that means giving up high calorie food, do it. Eat salads as much as possible. Once you get to the weight you want to be at, you can have a treat now and then, just not every meal.

    Another thing to do is stop drinking soda. Whether you like Mayor Bloomberg or not, he's got a really good point about the link between soda and obesity.

    I don't disagree with anyone about the need for exercise. Sitting down all day long does nothing good for you. But, remember, when you get done exercising you're gonna be hungry. That's when eating something such as a salad becomes important. Eat a BIG salad slowly and you won't be hungry when you're done. Eat everything slowly, give your body time to know it's full. Most importantly avoid the carbs. Carbs don't really do much for you and can be safely avoided. Unused carbs just turn to fat.

    Rich
     
  13. Jun 20, 2013 #33 of 114
    Rich

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    I haven't had any alcohol since 1999. Before that I drank beer. I love beer. I miss beer. Last time I got pulled over for doing 35 in a 25 zone, I was so drunk (this was back in the early '80s) I couldn't find my registration or license. Fortunately, the cop that pulled me over was a guy I had played ball with. He followed me to my home and let me go without doing anything but warning me. Lucky day for me.

    Rich
     
  14. Jun 20, 2013 #34 of 114
    klang

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    I agree with BattleScott that this is all about trying to get insurance to pay for this stuff. I'll be watching to see if this coverage ends up being mandated with O-care.
     
  15. Jun 20, 2013 #35 of 114
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Phil T

    Congratulations, and live long and prosper!
     
  16. Jun 20, 2013 #36 of 114
    James Long

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    Sorry Misty, but you have this wrong.

    The choice was not to properly manage their disease. Drunk and drugged drivers are not being punished for their disease but their failure to manage it appropriately. Just like a mentally ill person can be punished for failing to manage their disease.

    I'll trust medical science to make that decision.

    Hmmm ... powdered donuts. Sorry, what were you saying? I was distracted by food.
     
  17. Jun 20, 2013 #37 of 114
    Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Mmmmmm, Donuts!
     
  18. Jun 20, 2013 #38 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Even though I disagree with you on "disease", congratulations on getting your weight under control.

    One resource my wife used was the book "Eat This Not That". Pulling the best off of the menu and making small choices (such as dressings) that made the overall food intake level healthier.
     
  19. Jun 20, 2013 #39 of 114
    MysteryMan

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    Ever think of running for office Jimmy? You'd fit right in with your twisting of what others say. Everyone charged with DWI isn't a alcoholic or drug addict. Most are people who made bad choices. They "chose" to drink and drive. They "chose" to use legal or illegal drugs and drive. When they are charged and convicted for DWI they are punished for breaking the law, not for failing to manage a disease.
     
  20. Jun 20, 2013 #40 of 114
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I didn't twist what you said. I said what I said.

    There are laws against drinking and driving or operating under the influence of drugs. There is no law against having a disease. Your stance seems to be that if something is illegal there cannot be a disease involved. You are wrong. So wrong that it ceases to be funny.

    Mental illness (yes, Virginia, another disease) is not illegal ... although many years ago the answer was to lock people up as if they had committed a crime. But we do have plenty of laws that still apply to the mentally ill (no, you can't run around naked in a train station attacking passengers just because you have a disease). You can't put other people's lives at risk and use the disease as an excuse. At least not in the current decade.

    Along with obese relatives (really obese, not just BMI violators) I have relatives who have seizures. Due to this medical condition (a disease if you will) they cannot safely operate a motor vehicle on the highways. No excuse because they have a disease.

    Calling something a disease does not remove the responsibility for managing the issue working toward a resolution. But I feel than refusing to call obesity and the other issues presented here a disease tends to minimize their impact and the importance of solving the root causes.
     

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