Physicians, in general, aren’t great at counseling patients to lose weight. Some medically based programs do focus specifically on obesity, though, and show success. A nutritionist or dietitian may be more helpful; your doctor might refer you to one.
The reason to see your doctor is because of the medical problems that accompany overweight/obesity. These include:
- High blood pressure / hypertension. Most Americans eventually develop high blood pressure. High salt, low potassium diets may contribute to this. It usually has no symptoms, so it needs to be checked. Hypertension can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
- Diabetes. The obesity epidemic has produced a diabetes epidemic as well. People of Asian and Native American descent are particularly prone to develop diabetes. Diabetes is a devastating disease. It can cause blindness, impotence, stroke, heart attack, amputation, kidney failure leading to dialysis… The list of complications is long.
- Cancer. Yes, cancer. Obese people have increased rates of many cancers, yet may be less likely.
- Osteoarthritis / knee pain. Overweight people are much more likely to undergoe hip and/or knee replacement to repair “wear and tear” arthritis.
- Sleep apnea. Low oxygen during sleep, because the soft tissues in neck collapse, can contribute to heart attacks, stroke, and impotence – notice a pattern? Older men are most susceptible, but if you feel sleepy during the day, snore, and have a big belly and/or thick neck, you have a good chance of having it. A sleep study can tell for sure.