Well, the answer to this question
depends on whether you are morbidly obese. This answer may
give you the courage you need to take the first step. Below
are tools you can use to determine if you are morbidly obese
and thus potentially a candidate for weight loss surgery.
We also talk about what causes morbid obesity and and its
do you know if you are Morbidly Obese and Possibly a Candidate
Generally, if you are
BMI Calculator: Select your
gender, and then move the red slider handles or select your
height and weight to calcluate your BMI. The results of the
BMI calculations are displayed below. Note that these are
approximate values, and are intended to be used only as a
rough guide. Below the ideal body weight chart you will find
information about morbid obesity.
If your browser does not show the calculator above, try
using this body
index table by the CDC to determine your BMI.
How to Approximate Your Frame Size
Elbow Measurements For Medium Frame
- Bend your forearm up to a 90 degree angle. Your arm
should be parallel to your body.
- Keep your fingers straight and turn the inside of your
wrist towards the body.
- Using your other hand, place your thumb and index finger
on the two prominent bones (on either side) of the elbow.
- Measure the distance between the bones with a tape measure
- Compare with the tables listing elbow measurements for
medium-framed men or women.
- Compare to the chart below. The chart lists elbow measurements
for a medium frame - if your elbow measurement for that
particular height is less than the number of inches listed,
you are a small frame - if your elbow measurement for
that particular height is more than the number of inches
listed, your are a large frame.
|Height in 1" heels
||Height in 1" heels
||2 1/2"-2 7/8"
||2 1/4"-2 1/2"
||2 5/8"-2 7/8"
||2 1/4"-2 1/2"
||2 3/8"-2 5/8"
||2 3/4"-3 1/8"
||2 3/8"-2 5/8"
||2 7/8"-3 1/4"
||2 1/2"-2 3/4"
Quick Reference to Find Your Frame Size.
Keep in mind that this is a far less accurate measurement
To calculate your frame type place your thumb and index
finger around your wrist. If your finger overlaps the thumb,
your frame is a "Small Frame". If they touch, your frame
is a "Medium Frame". If they do not touch, your frame is
a "Large Frame".
Height and Weight Table for Women
|Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest
mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in
indoor clothing weighing 3 lbs.; shoes with 1"
Height and Weight Table for Men
|Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest
mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in
indoor clothing weighing 5 lbs.; shoes with 1"
Being underweight or overweight are recognized risk factors
for many diseases, namely hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemias,
and perhaps certain types of cancers.
Remember, these are statistical averages and not absolutes.
If you are very muscular, the chart will be inaccurate for
you, the same applies to the BMI calculator.
What is Morbid Obesity?
The word "morbid" means causing disease or
injury. Morbid Obesity is a serious disease process,
in which the accumulation of fatty tissue on the body
becomes excessive, and interferes with, or injures the
other bodily organs, causing serious and life-threatening
health problems, which are called comorbidities.
Morbid Obesity is also called Clinically Severe
Obesity, and is recognized by the consensus of
medical opinion as a serious problem, a disease process.
Generally, the underlying cause is genetic; you inherit
the tendency to gain weight, and once the problem is established,
there is very little that you can do to lose it.
How do genes affect obesity?
Overweight and obesity are a result
of an energy imbalance over a long period of time. The
cause of the energy imbalance for each individual may
be due to a combination of several factors. But generally,
our behavior is out of sink with our body's biological,
and our life's environmental factors which together are
all responsible for causing us to be overweight and obese.
Many other factors also contribute to obesity and because
of this; obesity is a complex health issue to address.
But numerous scientific studies have established that
there is a very powerful genetic predisposition to Morbid
Science shows that genetics plays a role in obesity.
It has been shown that children
adopted at birth show no correlation of their body weight
with that of their adoptive parents, who feed them, and
teach them how to eat. They show an 80% correlation of
their body weight with their genetic parents, whom they
have never even met. However genes do not always
predict future health. It all depends on what other factors
are in play. Genes and behavior usually both play hand
in hand for those of us who are overweight.
Bottom Line: For people who are genetically predisposed
to gain weight, preventing obesity is the best course.
Predisposed persons may require individualized interventions
(including weight loss surgery) and greater support to
be successful in maintaining a healthy weight.
It is time to stop blaming yourself. Many obesity researchers
believe that people who struggle with their weight are
pushing against thousands of years of evolution that has
selected for storing energy as fat in times of plenty
for use in times of scarcity. Genes are not destiny; in
fact obesity can be prevented or can be managed in many
cases with a combination of diet, physical activity, and
medication. Genetic predisposition will usually mean that
fighting obesity will be a struggle and require a lifelong
commitment to achieve better health as will any decision
to under go weight loss surgery. Treatments such as stomach
stapling, and gastric bypass surgery require life long
commitments to living healthy.
What should I do
about my obesity?
You could go on another diet. Unfortunately, although
diets work for a little while, the effects seldom last,
and the answer to Morbid Obesity needs to last a lifetime.
No diet program, even the drug programs such as the
Phen-Fen, or Redux, programs, are sufficiently powerful,
or adequately long-lasting, to produce the necessary
sustained weight loss in the severely obese.
You could look at how much your health
is at risk, and consider taking some risk to achieve a
more lasting solution: surgery to change your body's physiology,
and to help you to gain control of your weight.
In our opinion, surgery is the only effective way to achieve
lasting weight control, and a healthy body weight.
Effects of Morbid Obesity:
Severe obesity damages the body's mechanical, metabolic
and physiological functions. These "comorbidities"
affect nearly every organ in the body in some way, and
produce serious secondary illnesses, which may also be
life-threatening. The cumulative effect of these comorbidities
can interfere with a normal and productive life, cause
endless frustration and can greatly shorten life span,
Severely obese persons are approximately 6 times as likely
to develop heart disease as those who are normal-weighted.
Coronary disease is pre-disposed by increased levels of
blood fats, and the metabolic effects of obesity. Increased
load on the heart leads to early development of congestive
heart failure. Severely obese persons are 40 times as
likely to suffer sudden death, in many cases due to cardiac
High Blood Pressure
Essential hypertension, the progressive elevation of
blood pressure, is much more common in obese persons,
and leads to development of heart disease, and damage
to the blood vessels throughout the body, causing susceptibility
to strokes, kidney damage, and hardening of the arteries.
High Blood Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels are commonly elevated in the severely
obese, another factor predisposing to development of
heart and blood vessel disease.
Overweight persons are 10 times as likely to develop
Type II, Adult-Onset, Diabetes. Elevation of the blood
sugar leads to damage to tissues throughout the body:
Diabetes is the leading cause of adult-onset blindness,
a major cause of kidney failure, and the cause of over
one half of all amputations. It is the #3 cause of death
in the United States.
Sleep Apnea Syndrome
Sleep apnea, the stoppage of breathing during sleep, is commonly caused in the obese, by compression of
the neck, causing loud snoring, interspersed with periods
of complete obstruction, during which no air gets in at
all. The sleeping person sounds to an observer like he
is holding his breath, but he is, himself, usually unaware
that the problem is occurring at all, or only notices
that he sleeps poorly, and awakens repeatedly during the
night. The health effects of this condition may be severe,
high blood pressure, cardiac rhythm disturbances, and
sudden death. Affected persons awaken exhausted and often
fall asleep during the day, sometimes even at the wheel
of their car. This condition has a high mortality rate,
and is a life-threatening problem.
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
This condition occurs primarily in the very severely
obese, over 350 lbs. It is characterized by episodes
of drowsiness, or narcosis, occurring during awake hours,
and is caused by abnormalities of breathing and accumulation
of toxic levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. It is
often associated with sleep apnea, and may be hard to
distinguish from it.
Obese persons find that exercise causes them to be out
of breath very quickly. The lungs are decreased in size,
and the chest wall is very heavy and difficult to lift.
At the same time, the demand for oxygen is greater, with
any physical activity. This condition prevents normal
physical activities and exercise, often interferes with
usual daily activities, such as shopping, yard-work or
stair climbing, and can be completely disabling.
Heartburn - Reflux Disease and
Reflux Nocturnal Aspiration
Acid belongs in the stomach, and seldom causes any problem
when it stays there. When it escapes into the esophagus,
through a weak or overloaded valve at the top of the stomach,
the result is called "heartburn", or "acid
indigestion". The real problem is not with digestion,
but with the burning of the esophagus by the powerful
stomach acid. When one belches, the acid may bubble up
into the back of the throat, causing a fiery feeling there
as well. Often this occurs at night, especially after
a large or late meal, and if one is asleep when the acid
regurgitates, it may actually be inhaled, causing a searing
of the airway, and violent coughing and gasping.
This condition is dangerous, because of the possibility
of pneumonia or lung injury. The esophagus may become
, or scarred and constricted, causing trouble with swallowing.
Approximately 10 - 15% of patients with even mild sporadic
symptoms of heartburn will develop a condition called
Barrett's esophagus, which is a pre-malignant change in
the lining membrane of the esophagus, a cause of esophageal
Asthma and Bronchitis
Obesity does not itself cause asthma, or bronchitis,
directly. However, it does interfere with breathing, aggravating
any attack of asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux, caused
by obesity, may seriously aggravate asthma, and may cause
Gallbladder disease occurs several times as frequently
in the obese, in part due to repeated efforts at dieting,
which predispose to this problem. When stones form in
the gallbladder, and cause abdominal pain or jaundice,
the gallbladder must be removed.
Stress Urinary Incontinence
A large heavy abdomen, and relaxation of the pelvic muscles,
especially associated with the effects of childbirth,
may cause the valve on the urinary bladder to be weakened,
leading to leakage of urine with coughing, sneezing, or
laughing. This condition is strongly associated with being
overweight, and is usually relieved by weight loss.
Degenerative Disease of Lumbo-Sacral
The entire weight of the upper body falls on the base
of the spine, and overweight causes it to wear out, or
to fail. The consequence may be accelerated arthritis
of the spine, or "slipped disk", when the cartilage
between the vertebrae squeezes out. Either of these conditions
can cause irritation or compression of the nerve roots,
and lead to sciatica, a dull, intense pain down the
outside of the leg.
Degenerative Arthritis of Weight-Bearing
The hips, knees, ankles and feet have to bear most of
the weight of the body. These joints tend to wear out
more quickly, or to develop degenerative arthritis much
earlier and more frequently, than in the normal-weighted
person. Eventually, joint replacement surgery may be needed,
to relieve the severe pain. Unfortunately, the obese person
faces a disadvantage there too, joint replacement has
much poorer results in the obese. Many orthopedic surgeons
refuse to perform the surgery in severely overweight patients
Venous Stasis Disease
The veins of the lower legs carry blood back to the heart,
and they are equipped with an elaborate system of delicate
one-way valves, to allow them to carry blood "uphill".
The pressure of a large abdomen may increase the load
on these valves, eventually causing damage or destruction.
The blood pressure in the lower legs then increases, causing
swelling, thickening of the skin, and sometimes ulceration
of the skin.
Seriously overweight persons face constant challenges
to their emotions: repeated failure with dieting, disapproval
from family and friends, sneers and remarks from strangers.
They often experience discrimination at work, and cannot
enjoy theatre seats, or a ride in a bus or airliner. There
is no wonder, that anxiety and depression might accompany
years of suffering from the effects of a genetic condition, one which skinny people all believe should be controlled
easily by will power.
Seriously obese persons suffer inability to qualify for
many types of employment, and discrimination in employment
opportunities, as well. They tend to have higher rates
of unemployment, and a lower socioeconomic status. Ignorant
persons often make rude and disparaging comments, and
there is a general societal belief that obesity is a consequence
of a lack of self-discipline, or moral weakness. Many
severely obese persons find it preferable to avoid social
interactions or public places, choosing to limit their
own freedom, rather than suffer embarassment.