The effect of obesity on the body

The effect of obesity on the body

Obesity is, and has been for a long time, a hot topic. The stats on obesity are startling… The World Health Organisation (WHO) report that global obesity rates have tripled since 1975. In 2016, it was estimated that 1.9 billion adults were overweight across the world, with a third of those being obese (this stat rose to 2.1 billion in 2019). In that same year, 41 million children under 5 years of age were classified as overweight or obese. This is worrying stuff. But what is obesity, and what does it mean to be obese?

What is obesity?

Obesity (and being overweight) is defined by the WHO as “the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health”. Obesity is traditionally measured using a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing their weight by their height (in metres) squared.  A BMI which equates to 25 or over is classified as overweight… 30 or more equals obese. Due to the inability to distinguish gender and fat from muscle, the process is flawed. The Relative Fat Mass index (RFM) which takes into account someone’s gender, height and waist circumference is a more accurate tool in measuring someone’s fat mass and their risk of developing health problems from it.

Effects of obesity on the body

Now we know what obesity is, let’s explore what this means for the body. These are some of the known negative side effects of being obese:

  • Increased risk of numerous diseases: With obesity comes an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, stroke, respiratory conditions including sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallstones, menstrual issues, incontinence, many types of cancer, and mental illness (e.g. depression).
  • Increased risk of death: Being obese puts you at increased risk of death from all causes, but especially relating to cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart attack/failure).
  • Complications during pregnancy: Mother and baby are both at risk. Mothers are more likely to develop high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, as well as difficulties during labour and retaining weight post-pregnancy. For the baby, the risk of late fatal death increases, as does the risk for developing neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida).
  • Increased levels of pain: Evidence suggests obesity puts the body in an inflammatory state causing pain. Increased load on the joints leads to breakdown of cartilage which drives more inflammation. There is an increased rate of depression which exacerbates the pain experience as well. People then become afraid to move through pain and being sedentary means lack of movement through the joints, and they continue to degenerate. It’s a vicious cycle!
  • Poor quality of life: Obesity makes life hard. Carrying out everyday tasks becomes laborious. All of a sudden, hanging out the washing and cleaning the house or car can seem harder than they should do. It can also affect people’s desire to go out and be social. People who are obese are also at risk of developing undesirable body odour which can make social situations difficult.

The side effects of being overweight, especially obese, are many and very serious. It is simple… Being obese will increase your chances of serious disease and death, as well as impact your life negatively in many other ways.

It is daunting and challenging trying to lose weight. If you need help, please talk to us during your next visit here at [insert clinic name] and we will be happy to discuss options with you. We can work alongside your GP, or other health professionals, to help work out what the best and safest option is for you – getting you on the right track to a healthier, happier self.

References

  1. World Heath Organisation. 2020. Obesity. [Online]. Available from: https://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/. [Accessed 01 Feb 2020]
  2. Kobo, et al. 2019. Relative fat mass is a better predictor of dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome than body mass index. Cardiovascular Endocrinology & Metabolism. 8 (3). 77-81. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/cardiovascularendocrinology/Fulltext/2019/09000/Relative_fat_mass_is_a_better_predictor_of.4.aspx
  3. National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes. 1998. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obese Adults: The Evidence Report. National Institutes of Health. No. 98-4083. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf
  4. McVinnie, DS. 2013. Obesity and pain. British Journal of Pain. 7 (4). 163-170. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590160/

NHS. 2019. Body Odour. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/body-odour-bo/. [Accessed 01 Feb 2020]

  1. ://journals.lww.com/cardiovascularendocrinology/Fulltext/2019/09000/Relative_fat_mass_is
    _a_better_predictor_of.4.aspx
    National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes. 1998. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification,
    Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obese Adults: The Evidence Report. National
    Institutes of Health. No. 98-4083. Available from:
    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf
    McVinnie, DS. 2013. Obesity and pain. British Journal of Pain. 7 (4). 163-170. Available from:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590160/
    NHS. 2019. Body Odour. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/body-odour-
    bo/. [Accessed 01 Feb 2020]

Putting a stop to incontinence

Putting a stop to incontinence

Do you leak when you laugh? Its time to raise awareness for the 5 million+ Australians who experience bladder or bowel incontinence. Yes, it really is THAT common! This can be a very debilitating condition, but unfortunately, a lot of people suffer in silence through fear of speaking out, due to the embarrassing nature of the problem.

What you may not realise is that the majority of incontinence cases can be treated, and a lot of the time, stopped completely. So, to try and help break the silence surrounding incontinence, we are going to give you a little run down on what it is, who it affects, and some tips on what you can do to help.

WHAT IS INCONTINENCE?

Incontinence is the term used to describe the uncontrollable loss of urine from the bladder or faeces from the bowel. It ranges in severity from losing only a very small amount of urine, to a complete void of the bladder or bowel. If you’ve never experienced this, you can only imagine how distressing this must be. There are different types of urinary incontinence, including:

  • STRESS INCONTINENCE, where small amounts of urine leak due to small increases in pressure on the bladder during physical activity, or from coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • URGE INCONTINENCE, where you get an unexpected, strong urge to urinate with little to no warning. This is usually as a result of an overactive bladder muscle.
  • INCONTINENCE ASSOCIATED WITH CHRONIC RETENTION, where your bladder cannot empty fully, and you get regular leakage of small amounts of urine. There are many causes for this, including an enlarged prostate in men, or prolapsed pelvic organs in women, as well as medications and certain conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.
  • FUNCTIONAL INCONTINENCE, where you are unable to get to the toilet, possibly due to immobility, or wearing clothes that are not easy to get off in time.

Faecal incontinence is when you have a lack of control of bowel movements and you may accidentally pass a bowel movement, or even pass wind without meaning to. This may be due to weak muscles surrounding the back passage (Unfortunately ladies, this is common following pregnancy and childbirth), or if you have severe diarrhoea.

TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF INCONTINENCE

For all those suffering in silence, it is time to speak out.  There is no need to be embarrassed, it is surprisingly common – and like we have already mentioned, help is out there! You may not need to look very far. Being your local Osteopath, we may be able to help.

The most common type of incontinence that we see and treat is stress incontinence. Although seen across both sexes, women are three times more likely to experience it than men. It is very common in women following pregnancy and childbirth (when the pelvic floor muscles get over-stretched, and sometimes even damaged), during menopause (due to hormonal changes) and in the elderly. It commonly affects men who have had prostate surgery.

The pelvic floor muscles sit at the bottom of the pelvic bowl, spanning from the pubic bone to the tailbone (front to back) and from one sitting bone to the other (side to side). Imagine a tarpaulin stretched out with a person holding each corner and you kind of get the gist. When these muscles are strong, they help to support our internal pelvic organs (i.e. the bladder, bowel and the uterus in women) and wrap around the openings of the front and back passages, allowing us to control when we decide to do a number one or two. Following pregnancy for example, they may become weak and dysfunctional, and we can lose that ability to control voiding. It only takes something as small as a cough, or an activity like jumping or running (things many of us take for granted) that may cause a person to lose a small amount of urine.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP

The most important thing to point out is that not all types of incontinence will improve or resolve with just strengthening of weak pelvic floor muscles. So, it is very important to get an accurate diagnosis, because there will likely be other factors that need addressing too. For instance, losing weight, stopping smoking, and making other lifestyle changes are just as important in the management of these conditions, if relevant to the person of course. Some people may also require release of tight and over-active muscles.

Once you have your diagnosis, then strengthening may well be a part of your therapy. In order to strengthen, you need to know where the muscles are, and how to activate them. Below is a little step by step guide to getting a grip on those pelvic floor muscles (we don’t mean literally!):

  1. Get in a comfortable position – try sitting or lying on your back and take a few breaths to relax.
  2. Imagine you are trying to stop yourself from urinating mid-stream by squeezing for about a second. If this is not easy to feel, next time you are on the toilet emptying your bladder, have a go at stopping mid-stream and then relaxing again to finish emptying (don’t hold it for too long please – just enough to feel which muscles you need to use).
  3. Do the same as step two for the back passage – this time imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind by squeezing.
  4. Do these quick squeezes 3 x 20 reps a day. Once you’re comfortable, you can do it sitting or standing. Make it routine… Do it when you’re brushing your teeth, eating lunch, or in the ad breaks of your favourite TV show.

These two contractions together form the basis of what you need to be able to do to begin your pelvic floor muscle training. If you struggle to feel this, then ask for help from your therapist. They will be able to help you perfect the activation of the correct muscles.

We hope you have found this blog interesting and helpful. If you, or someone you know is looking for answers to questions and advice on the management of these conditions, then please get in touch. We are ready to offer advice and/or treatment. 

References

  1. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. World Continence Week. [Online]. [Accessed 07 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/events_calendar.php/482/world-continence-week
  2. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Laugh Without Leaking. [Online]. [Accessed 07 May 2019]. Available from: http://www.laughwithoutleaking.com.au
  3. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Key Statistics. [Online]. [Accessed 08 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/pages/key-statistics.html
  4. Milsom, I. and Gyhagen, M. 2018. The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence. Climacteric. 22(3). 217-222. DOI: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1543263
  5. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women. [Online]. [Accessed 08 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/pages/pelvic-floor-women.html

What pain relief is right for you?

What pain relief is right for you?

Pain has been an ongoing topic for research and discussion for a long time. Nearly everyone feels it (I say ‘nearly’ because there is actually a very small minority of people with a special condition that does not allow them to feel pain), and it varies in character and severity depending on what part of the body is implicated. And for the most part, none of us like being in pain. When we feel pain, normally the first thing we do is to look for a way out of it (or as some of you like to, ignore it – tut tut!). It’s a bit of a minefield knowing where to go for good pain relief. Some of us like a quick fix, others are more interested in fixing the problem long term by putting the hours in to do the rehab. Luckily for you, we are here to help with both stages!

When it comes to the body, we usually feel pain because our body is sending us a signal letting us know something is not quite right. That might be down to a simple muscle imbalance or joint restriction, which is leading us to walk or run differently. Or it might be down to something more serious like a tear of a muscle or tendon, changes in the nervous system or a problem with an organ deep inside the body – the list of causes is long and complex.

Regardless of the cause, when in pain it’s human nature to want to know how to get rid of it. Some of you turn to the experts (i.e. like your local Osteo/Myo/TCM practitioners, and other professionals like doctors), and some prefer to self-diagnose using www.DrInternet.com (how’s that been working out for you?!).

Some of the most common and well-known forms of pain relief include manual therapy, use of temperature, medications, supplementation and diet – you’ll find a brief overview of each below:

Manual therapy

We as humans have been using our hands to treat the body for a very, very, very long time! If you walk into a clinic in pain, be it you have a swollen ankle or the inability to lift your arm above your head, your practitioner will get to work on you using a whole host of techniques (after they have carefully and correctly diagnosed you of course!). Soft tissue massage and myofascial release techniques are widely used in the management of musculoskeletal pain and evidence suggests you aren’t wasting your time by getting the help of your local therapist. Your practitioner may also utilise other techniques, including joint mobilisation and manipulation, to correct your problem and to help get your pain lowered and under control. Usually you will also be given some form of flexibility or strengthening exercises to perform between treatment sessions to back up what happens in the treatment room.

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Heat pack

Heat and cold therapy

If you’ve hurt yourself in the past, there is a good chance you’ve tried some form of treatment relating to temperature to help relieve the pain. Cold therapy can help to reduce pain, blood flow, swelling, muscle spasm, and inflammation. Heat therapy can help to relieve pain, increase blood flow, and tissue elasticity. It’s worth getting advice for the best approach for your problem.

Medication

There are countless different medications out there that can help with pain relief – these are called analgesics. Without getting too complicated, they can generally be split into Non-opioid and Opioid analgesics. Non-opioid analgesics include your well known and easily accessible medications such as aspirin, paracetamol, and anti-inflammatories (such as Ibuprofen) – these are generally good for the control of musculoskeletal pain. Opioid analgesics are there for cases of more severe pain, and include codeine, tramadol and morphine (you won’t be able to get these ones over-the-counter though!). Remember it’s always safest to consult a medical professional before using any form of medication.

Supplementation & Diet

There is no shortage of nutritional supplements available to assist you in the non-pharmacological management of pain also. From anti-inflammatory herbs like Curcumin (derived from Turmeric), Boswellia and Ginger to Fish Oil and Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Similarly, diets high in Berries, Fatty fish like Salmon or Sardines, Green Tea, Avocadoes and Broccoli can assist with reducing inflammation. In conjunction with the avoidance of sugar and highly processed/refined foods, alcohol and trans fats.

If you are injured or in pain or would just like to know more about pain and the many ways to manage it we recommend you to book a consultation with one of our practitioners today so they can talk through your problem, assess you thoroughly, and then advise the best course of action for you.

Our aim is to help get you out of pain and moving better again! Say ‘au revoir’ to pain! 🙂

How massage affects your mood

shoulder injury treatment rotator cuff massage

An apple a day keeps the doctor away… we’ve all heard this phrase. Well how good would it be if getting a regular massage was also good for your health? Look no further and read on! We have some insight into how massage can have a positive effect on your mood, and overall well-being.

When we are treated by our massage therapist, their simple touch starts off a whole chain of activity in our nervous system, changing the levels of lots of different types of chemicals in the body, which ultimately results in you feeling good, relaxed, and ready to take on the world again. The chemicals we refer to are your stress hormones and happy hormones.

Stress hormones

Stress hormones include Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, and Cortisol. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them – these chemicals are basically responsible for activating your fight-or-flight response. They’re your body’s natural mechanism for dealing with danger and stressful situations (you know, like when you come face to face with a lion down a dark alley… Not happened to you? Erm, just us then?).

So having these chemicals is good, but if they flow around the body for too long, it can be detrimental to your health, leading to anxiety, increased blood pressure, a lowered immune system and much more. If you’re the kind of person who is regularly stressed in life, the good news is that massage has been shown to lower the amount of circulating stress hormones (think about the fight-or-flight response being reversed or switched off), reducing the risk of long-term complications from having your body in a constantly heightened state.

Happy hormones

Happy hormones include Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins and Oxytocin. These chemicals have many roles to play, but important roles include regulating mood, appetite, focus and the body’s ability to make you feel generally positive and happy. So, it makes sense that we want plenty of these hormones regularly being pumped around the body. Good news again… massage, or even just the touch of another person has been shown to increase levels of these hormones, making you feel good, focused and productive, and generally a lovely, happy person to be around.

So, you can see it’s a win-win situation. Massage anyone? Oh go on then… book one now