Saturday, December 28, 2013

Obesity Is Associated with Infectious Diseases

Obesity is associated with a number of ailments. These ailments include heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and certain types of cancers. But obesity can also be a negative factor in infectious diseases. Obesity can increase the risk of contracting an infectious disease and obesity can hinder the ability of antibiotics to fight infectious diseases.

Obesity can increase an obese person's chances of contracting certain infectious diseases, because an obese person's immune system may be unable to properly fight the diseases. Although the specific causes of some immune system's decreased ability to fight infectious diseases are not known, observed changes associated with obesity include excessive inflammation, epigenetic regulation, and metabolic changes. 

Further, obesity may hinder the ability of antibiotics to fight an infectious disease. In fact, one study shows that there are more antibiotic medicine failures in the obese population than in the normal population. The condition is called antibiotic treatment failure (ATF). In the study, the researchers investigated 6,179 patients.

Of the patients, 5351 had no ATF while 828 had ATF. Observations during the study period indicated that nearly 64% of the ATF group were overweight or obese. The investigators concluded that "obese patients were significantly more likely than non-obese to have ATF."

So, obese persons may face two problems when it comes to infectious diseases. Obese persons are more likely to experience infectious diseases because their immune system may have a problem fighting the diseases. And once an obese person is diagnosed as having certain infectious diseases, and antibiotics are used to fight the disease, the obese person's body may obstruct the effects of the antibiotic.

Obesity medicine practitioners are in a perfect position to understand and discuss the connection between obesity and infectious diseases. These practitioners are in a perfect position to emphasize this connection when counseling patients. Therefore, these practitioners should be a part of teams treating patients with infectious diseases. 
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