Weight Related Medical Terms

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in our blood and is measured at the same time as blood cholesterol. Triglycerides which are absorbed in the intestine from the foods like meats, dairy products and cooking oils are transported to tissues for energy or they are stored as fat.

Healthy blood pressure is considered to be under 120/80. The first reading is called systolic and records blood pressure at its highest as the heart muscle squeezes out the blood from the heart. When the heart relaxes this allows the blood to flow back into the heart and this is diastolic pressure. If you readings are 140/90 or higher, on more than one occasion there might be reason for concern and you should discuss this with your doctor. High blood pressure is one important risk factor for your health. Researchers have found an unexpected increase in the number of children with high blood pressure, and say the growing rate of obesity may be the culprit (American Heart Association Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, Miami Florida , USA , March 2003.

It is a complex chronic condition that presents with widespread pain and fatigue (tiredness) combined with a variety of other symptoms. Contrary to arthritis, fibromyalgia does not cause pain or swelling in the joints or soft tissue around them. The name fibromyalgia refers to ‘fibro’ – meaning fibrous tissue such as tendons and ligaments, ‘my’ – meaning muscles and ‘algia’ – meaning pain. Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are hardly noticeable it known “the invisible disability.”

The cause of this disorder is unknown. Affects women of childbearing age and typical symptoms are lack of periods or irregular abnormally light periods, difficulty falling pregnant, oily, hairy skin with often presents with acne as well and 40% of patient are obese. Weight reduction usually improves the symptoms and can even make pregnancy possibly. There appears to be significant associations between obesity and reproductive disturbances in women, including irregular menstrual cycles, reduced fertility, and increased risk of miscarriage, according to experts.

Obesity is considered a chronic disease. This means that your excessive weight is affecting your health. Obesity is typically measured using BMI (Body Mass Index, see following section). A BMI over 30 is obese. Obese class I is up to 34.9 and a BMI between 35 and 40 is class II obesity and over 40 we talk about morbid obesity or class III and at this level your health is at serious risk!

The Glycemic Index is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. 
 Foods with a high Glycaemic Index enter the bloodstream rapidly, while carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels.

Glucose (a type of sugar) is the body’s main energy source. When the body can’t use glucose for energy, it uses fat instead. When fats are broken down for energy, chemicals called ketones appear in the blood and urine. This is known as ketosis when your body is actively using your fat stores as an energy source.

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood that is needed by the cells to produce important hormones. The level of cholesterol in your blood is affected by the type of food you eat. The are two main types of cholesterol:

  • Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) The “bad cholesterol” increases your risk of getting heart disease as LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to the walls of the arteries. For years we have been told that foods high in saturated fat raises our LDL cholesterol but all my observational data suggests that high glycaemic foods are also a major contributing factor.
  • High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) The “good cholesterol” can protect you against getting heart disease.