Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Diet, Exercise and Drugs for Weight Loss

When most people are faced with the need to lose weight, they usually turn first to diet and exercise. But after a while, most people either don't lose much weight, or they regain the weight they did lose. However, the addition of obesity drugs to a weight loss program may enable a person to lose and maintain the weight loss -- at least enough of the weight loss to improve health.

Many experts suggest that a 5% weight loss can improve an overweight or obese person's health. The CDC states that "no matter what your weight loss goal is, even a modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight, is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars." Similarly, Weight Watchers indicates that "for most people 5% is enough to lower the risk of developing type II diabetes." Weight Watchers also suggests that the 5% weight loss could "lower [a person's] blood pressure."

Still, most people will regain the weight even after a modest 5% weight loss. But obesity drugs can offer hope to people who have trouble maintaining weight loss. Drugs on the market that fight obesity may help people who satisfy the drug usage guidelines. The drugs include Qsymia, Contrave, Saxenda, and Belviq. In clinical trials, these drugs enabled many subjects to lose 5% of their body weight, and maintain the weight loss for at least a year.

Thus, there is a good chance that anyone of these drugs, when used in conjunction with a good diet and exercise program, will benefit overweight and obese persons who want to lose and maintain at least 5% of their weight loss.

Now in general, to satisfy the obesity drug usage guidelines mentioned above, a person's BMI must be 30 or above with no comorbidity or 27 or above with one or more comorbidities. Indeed, as WEBMD puts it, "Doctors usually prescribe [these drugs] only if [a person's] BMI is 30 or higher, or if it's at least 27 and [the person has] a condition that may be related to [the person's] weight, like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure."

At any rate, for those persons needing to lose weight and maintain the weight loss, drugs plus exercise and diet might be an important combination.


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