If you are overweight, it’s not news to you that the world can seem like it’s working against you. People are unkind. You’re often uncomfortable. And you’re more at risk for a number of health problems. (1)
That last one is of special concern, and here’s why. You may not know it, but being overweight can have a big impact on the care you receive, and not in a good way. Here's why:
5 Ways Being Overweight Impacts Health Care
1. Doctors can blame your symptoms on your weight
Weight bias can take many forms. (2) One is in the way that doctors view you if you’re overweight or obese. Many doctors see overweight patients and blame their weight for the symptoms.
This leads to being treated for the wrong condition, or no treatment at all. Many doctors will just tell a patient to lose weight instead of running the tests that could show the true cause of their symptoms.
2. Your weight can affect your test results
Depending on how overweight you are, you may not be able to have the tests that you need. Ultrasound has a hard time getting through tissue if it is hidden by too much fat.
This affects testing done for many reasons, and is a big concern in pregnant women, as problems with their babies may not be seen. Mammograms are also more likely to show false positives. (3)
3. You are more likely to have complications after elective surgery
A study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University showed that obese people have a 12 times greater chance of having complications after elective surgery. (4)
As a result, it’s suggested that if at all possible, you lose weight before going under the knife. If you can’t wait to have the surgery, be sure to ask about care for obese patients.
4. Being overweight makes your body heal more slowly
Though it's not clear why, studies have shown that incisions and wounds take longer to heal in people who are obese. There's also a greater risk of infection.
To offset this effect, people who are overweight should take extra steps to make sure that they eat well and follow all of their doctor’s orders. Focus on cutting back on sugar and eating more protein and nutrient-dense foods.
5. It takes longer to find cancer
The heavier you are, the longer it can take to identify cancer, and this means that treatment starts later. There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that tumors are harder to spot under layers of fat.
Since being overweight already increases your chances of having cancer, it's important that you take other cancer-prevention steps. (5) Go for regular checkups and have all recommended cancer screenings.
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Yours in health and happiness,
P.S. Please share this with your friends and comment below to share how you might take control of your own medical care. I want to hear from you!