Obesity has become a major health problem in the United States, affecting healthcare providers and insurance companies. Although obesity is seldom a cause for disability in and of itself, it can cause or complicate a number of different conditions that can cause people to become disabled. In addition to a declining quality of life, obesity can lead to cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cataracts, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cancer, pulmonary diseases, and sleep apnea, among other disorders. If you’re suffering from any of these conditions and are also obese, curing your condition and regaining your life is an on-going battle. The fatigue and lack of mobility that often accompany cases of obesity make it more difficult to perform the duties of many careers, even without considering the problems caused by any accompanying complicating medical conditions. Reducing obesity is one of the best ways to reduce stress on your body and your life, but that’s not always an option due to people’s circumstances. And our discussion is not going to address the relationships between obesity, certain drug side-effects, and/or mental conditions – that’s a topic for another day. Today, I’m going to approach the topic of obesity in two ways: offering advice on how to deal with your existing disability claim while suffering from obesity, as well as sharing a few basic tips on how to reduce your weight in ways that can help prevent a disability claim in the future.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a disability and are obese, the best option is to find ways to reduce the stress on your body and try to cope with your disabling conditions. Most disability claimants can’t complete much physical activity, and stress can worsen most conditions, so it’s important to put a balanced and sensible exercise and diet plan into place. There are five generally accepted treatment modalities to help those with obesity: diet modification, drug therapy, surgery, exercise, and behavior modification. Unfortunately, it’s challenging for most individuals to maintain a plan of action enough to see measurable and significant health gains. It’s vital that an appropriate support system is in place to help you complete your goals. Always make sure the goals you set, no matter how you approach the plan, are sensible. Setting goals that nobody could reach leads to a lack of motivation after a short period and often results in the plan’s failure.
When deciding what type of treatment to pursue in regards to obesity, drug therapy and surgery often seem like easy solutions that can potentially offer a quick, direct solution to your problems – but this is rarely true. The exceptions to this rule are people who are suffering from hypothyroidism, depression, Cushing’s disease, or a few other illnesses for which drug therapy and surgery are the only options, due to medical factors such as hormone imbalances. Drug therapy is adjunctive, meaning that it supplements and complements other treatments. The drugs prescribed can cause digestive side effects and are seldom the best answer for long-term solutions. Surgery is reserved for the most severe cases of obesity and for those whose conditions may result in serious bodily harm or death if the obesity is not reduced immediately. The best answer for a permanent and long-term change to your health and your lifestyle is to work with a physician and team of medical providers to create a plan that is crafted to your personal needs and around the limitations of your disability. Reducing the risks and stresses associated with obesity in relation to your disability can help you regain your life and reduce the chances of a serious complications of your disabling condition.
Much of the stress of battling obesity can be reduced if rehabilitative measures are put into place before you suffer a disabling condition. Since risk factors increase exponentially as obesity becomes worse, losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle are often the only options many obese people have if they want to minimize their chances of developing a disability. The statistics are startling — a weight gain of 18 pounds doubles the average person’s risk of contracting diabetes, while gaining 44 or more pounds quadruples the risk. The same weight gain of 18 pounds also increases the chance of coronary heart disease in women by 1.25 times and men by 1.6 times. Overall, obesity increases the chances of premature death from all causes. This should hopefully be a wake-up call to many who’ve been living with their obesity for years. Taking steps to reverse this health problem now can lead to increased health and a happier lifestyle in the future. Losing weight does not have to be as difficult as many people fear. There are many ways to improve your health without signing up for intensive training programs or incredibly restrictive diets. It’s vital to create a plan that’s realistic and maintainable in order to achieve the desired results.
- Identify obstacles to losing weight. Keep a food journal and describe everything you eat and situations you find yourself in. This can help identify reasons that you’re overeating, such as depression or stress.
- Remove food temptations. Replace high-calorie snacks and sweets with healthier alternatives such as fruit and yogurt. Also, remove sugary sodas and drinks that are full of empty calories and harmful chemicals.
- Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Having a plan for your meals allows you to maintain a regular eating schedule and plan out what to eat to hit your caloric goals. There are many different ways to do this, such as using a meal planning form.
- Reduce saturated fats from your diet and use lean meats and meat alternatives.
- Figure out what works best for you. Not every diet plan is going to work every time for every individual. Try out different options, experiment, and then stick with what works for you and what you find the most comfortable. The only meaningful result of a plan is for you to be happy and healthy, so choose a course of action that allows for this to happen. You don’t have to be miserable to be healthy.
Disabilities sideline many people every day in the United States, and there is no reason obesity needs to complicate their physical problems. There are many solutions that can reduce the risks associated with obesity, but the best plan is to reduce obesity itself. Advances in medical treatment have opened new avenues to weight loss and healthy lifestyles that didn’t exist even ten years ago, and we are increasingly aware of the ways our bodies process food and nutrients. Weight loss and exercise don’t have to be grueling workouts and starvation diets that many people associate with dieting. It’s in your best interest to proactively exercise and fix your diet, but there are much more significant benefits if you’re already suffering from a disability. Reducing obesity is the most direct action you can take to improve and prolong your life.
If you have more questions about how obesity may affect your disability claim or are having any issues with your disability insurance company, please do not hesitate to contact us at (855) 828-4100 or fill out a contact form on our website.