Obesity treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions
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Can I talk to a doctor on Maple about obesity?
Yes, you can. The doctor will want to discuss your medical history, your current condition, and any symptoms or signs of obesity you’re experiencing.
In most cases, the doctor will calculate your body mass index (BMI) to determine if you’re obese based on your current BMI.
Once the doctor has provided an obesity diagnosis, they will be able to suggest an obesity treatment plan to begin losing weight. In addition to seeing a general practitioner, if you live in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba, you can see a weight management consultant online with Maple.
Can I get a prescription on Maple?
Yes, our physicians can prescribe obesity medications online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription for obesity, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered right to your door at no additional cost.
You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.
What is obesity?
Obesity is a chronic disease that involves retaining a large amount of body fat. It’s considered a global epidemic that is a major contributor to poor health in men and women of all ages.
Being overweight is not merely a cosmetic issue. When you’re obese, it can increase the risks of experiencing other health problems, like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Obesity is calculated using the body mass index (BMI). BMI is measured by calculating body weight (in kg) divided by height (in metres) squared. If the resulting number is 30 or higher, the weight is considered obese.
You can also calculate obesity by measuring waist circumferences. It’s best used in patients who have a BMI that’s considered overweight (between 25 to 29.9 kg/m2), and increased abdominal girth, to assess cardiometabolic risks.
People who are chronically obese are more likely to develop a number of other serious medical conditions, such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Certain types of cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Severe Covid-19 symptoms
- Gynecological and sexual disorders
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Reduced fertility
- Lowered sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Kidney stones
- Urinary incontinence
- Higher risk of infections
- Increased mortality rates from influenza and COVID-19 viruses
- Chronic kidney disease
- Mental illness (depression, stigma of disapproval)
What are the symptoms of obesity?
The most prominent symptom or sign of obesity is weight gain, pushing your BMI to 30 or higher. However, there are other associated obesity symptoms that can accompany weight gain, such as:
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Easily exhausted by physical activities
- Difficult sleeping or sleep apnea
- Intolerance to heat
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
- Stretch marks on skin
- Joint or back pain
- Infections in skin folds
- Varicose veins in lower limbs
What causes obesity?
In many cases, obesity is caused when you continually take in more calories per day than you burn through exercise and normal activities. These calories are stored in the body as fat.
North American diets are often too high in calories, particularly due to high-calorie beverages and regular fast-food consumption. If you’re experiencing signs of obesity, you may even require more calories before feeling full. You may also eat more due to stress or anxiety, or feel hungry more often.
There are other underlying issues which can add to causes of obesity, such as:
- Metabolic issues (not processing calories efficiently)
- Lifestyle choices (binge eating habits, excessive drinking, etc.)
- Hormonal influences (particular the thyroid)
- Microbiome (stomach bacteria)
- Quitting smoking (replacing smoking habits with eating habits)
How is obesity diagnosed?
Before offering a diagnosis for obesity, the doctor will want to check your BMI, as well as measure the circumference of your waist. They’ll also most likely schedule a general physical exam and blood tests to check for any underlying conditions causing or caused by your obesity.
Once they’ve been able to offer a clear obesity diagnosis, the doctor will be able to suggest obesity treatments that will work best for you. Although rare, this could include prescription obesity medications.
How is obesity treated?
The goal with obesity treatments is to help you reach a healthy weight, and then maintain it to prevent obesity from recurring. They’ll do this by first suggesting a weight-loss program that will work for you, and may refer you to a dietician to help you create a healthy meal plan. All weight-loss programs will involve reducing calories, practicing better eating habits, and increasing the volume of physical activities you perform.
Additionally, you may need to work on modifying your routine behaviors to help you stick to your weight loss program. These types of obesity treatments involve participating in support groups or counseling.
If your obesity is being caused by a hormone imbalance, they may suggest an obesity prescription to help return hormones to normal levels.
Less commonly, when a healthy diet and regular exercise aren’t enough to reduce obesity symptoms, the doctor may suggest prescription obesity medications. However, these obesity medications may not work for everyone. You may also regain some or all of the weight you lost when you stop taking the medication.
In some people, weight-loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) may be an option. These surgeries either reduce the amount of food that can be eaten comfortably or reduces the absorption of calories. These surgeries are typically only offered when all other weight-loss methods have proved ineffective. Keep in mind, not every patient is a candidate for this surgery.
Some potential weight-loss surgeries include:
- Adjustable gastric banding
- Gastric sleeve
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch
When to see a doctor for obesity?
If you’re beginning to show signs of obesity, and believe you need help managing your weight, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor.
Losing weight can be a long, frustrating process for some people. A doctor can help you develop a weight-loss plan. This can assist you in taking the first steps towards weight loss, as well as monitoring your results, to ensure the plan is working.
As well, because certain other conditions can cause obesity, a doctor can help provide you with a clear obesity diagnosis. Some people may find that dietary changes and exercise don’t work for them, and may require obesity treatments like prescription obesity medications or surgery.
A doctor from Maple will be able to determine the most effective obesity treatments to fit your personal needs.
What is Maple?
With Maple, you can start talking to a doctor about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare app for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.
You simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll immediately connect you to a doctor or weight management consultant via live chat or video. You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.
Our doctors can assess symptoms, and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.
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