Obese patients are prescribed with diagnostic procedures to confirm or disprove their obesity.
In addition, the results of obesity diagnosis help to choose an adequate treatment method of this polietiologic disease.
Diagnostic procedures also help to determine absence or presence of comorbid conditions and risk factors for re-gaining excess weight.
To date, there are several effective methods for obesity diagnosis, including:
An important and universal method for obesity diagnosis is to collect an anamnesis. This method allows to determine dynamics of change in body weight, age of onset of weight gain, the patient’s behavioral and eating habits, effectiveness of the previous treatment.
To choose the most appropriate obesity therapy, the presence of secondary diseases and a list of medications that the patient takes to treat them should be determined when diagnosing this disease.
Some disorders or drugs may contribute to weight gain. Their detection during obesity diagnosis helps to choose a right treatment tactics and reduce a risk of relapse of this polietiologic disease.
One of the additional methods for obesity diagnosis in adults is BMI evaluation. Along with tests for cholesterol or glucose in the blood plasma, definition of BMI contributes only to an approximate diagnosis. Use of BMI data during consultation helps the healthcare specialist to depersonalize the conversation.
This helps to reduce discomfort that may occur in a patient with excess weight when discussing his body weight or possible consequences of obesity. The patient’s BMI is calculated as the weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of the height (in meters).
Obesity is diagnosed in patients with a BMI above 30 kg / m2, or when fat content in the body is significantly higher than normal:
- more than 10% – in men
- more than 20% – in women.
Optimal level of BMI may differ in patients of different groups, including in geriatric patients, pregnant women, athletes or immature children.
In addition, the results of numerous clinical studies prove that many patients with a BMI below 30 kg / m2 have an excess of visceral fat. For more accurate obesity diagnosis, waist circumference is also determined.
Obesity is diagnosed when the woman’s waist is more than 80 cm, and man’s waist – 94 cm. However, this diagnosis method is not appropriate for pregnant women.
This is one of the most simple and affordable methods for determining visceral fat content.
For a more accurate obesity diagnosis, various methods of assessing body composition are sometimes used, including:
- Bone density tests – helps to determine changes in fat mass in obese patients after surgical operations, including gastric bypass or gastric banding.
- Hydrostatic weighing – helps to assess a ratio of fat tissue density and muscle mass.
- Skinfold measurement – is performed to determine the amount of subcutaneous fat.
- Percentage of body fat is subsequently calculated based on the data obtained.
- Bioimpedance analysis – allows to determine a ratio of fat and muscles in patients by conducting an electrical signal. Muscle tissue contains water, so the signal quickly passes through the muscles, but the presence of excess fat significantly slows down its passage.
Except for measuring skin folds, these methods of obesity diagnosis are not widely used. This is related to the fact that special equipment available only for a few clinics or organizations is required to conduct them.
Based on the data obtained during obesity diagnosis, one or several treatment methods of this disease are chosen: medication, dietary, and bariatric therapy. Obese patients are recommended to conduct a full re-diagnosis of obesity at least once a year.