Investigated Disease Process/Pathophysiology
Today, more than ever before, Americans are bursting at their seams. This may sound funny to some, but it is far from humorous. Obesity engulfed my body at the young age of twenty-five, as I topped the scales at a whopping three hundred pounds. At this point, I could no longer fit into average-sized clothing, but more importantly I could barely breathe. I napped most of the day, yet never felt rested. My blood pressure was elevated, as well as my lipids. As a brand new nurse, I knew something had to shift. I decided to embark on a life-long journey towards health and wellness. I became a vegan, joined a gym and ever so slowly put one foot in front of the other. After a year and a half, I had lost over one hundred and forty pounds. Now, twenty years later, I continue to remain healthy, and in excellent shape. However, most people will not take the same journey as I have. They will continue to follow on a path of self-destruction, leading to disease, disability and ultimately death. An example of this is my father. He passed away a year ago at the age of sixty-nine, and a weight of four hundred pounds. His body finally gave in to decades of food over-indulgence and sedentary lifestyle. Obesity ravaged his entire body, from his liver and kidneys, to his heart. I knew as I hit my heaviest weight, that if I did not make a change, my fate would be the same as his.
Obesity is not just a topic for me to research and analyze as a nurse/student, it is part of me. It is a monster rearing its evil head, in every donut or slice of pizza that crosses my eyes. It requires taming and constant vigilance to continue making healthy choices in order to avoid its wrath. Educating others about obesity is something I do every day, not just as a nurse educator, but as a friend and family member. It is the difference between life and death, as I will address next.
According to the Surgeon General ("Overweight and obesity," n.d., para. 1) “An estimated 300,000 deaths per year may be attributable to obesity”. This is a staggering number, considering the fact that obesity is preventable. So, one must consider; what exactly is the definition of obesity? "Overweight" technically refers to an excess of body weight, whereas "obesity" refers to an excess of fat (Klish, 2013, para. 3). Many health providers are using the body mass index (BMI) as a way to measure whether a person over the age of two is overweight or obese (Klish, 2013, para. 4). “Adults with a BMI between 25 and 30 are considered overweight; those with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 are considered to be obese” (Klish, 2013, para. 5). It is thought that excess weight of as little as ten pounds, may contribute to early death ("Overweight and obesity," n.d., p. 1). Often people are unaware they are actually considered overweight or obese according to the above guidelines. Some individuals have not been weighed properly in many years. Frequently,...