Expert warns against use of dietary and other supplements without consultation
Doha: Hamad Medical Corporation’s expert has warned against the use of dietary supplements as a weight loss tool and excessive use of other supplements without medical consultation, saying it could have dangerous side effects.
Specialist Bariatric and Obesity Medicine at Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr Yasmin Ibrahim, said that excessive intake of supplements could have adverse effects, some of which can be dangerous and have serious health risks.
She also advised people to take oral supplements for weight loss only if prescribed by physicians.
“It is advisable to stay in touch with your physician and dietician when attempting to start your weight-reduction journey, as this is a great way to monitor your progress and stay motivated,” Dr. Ibrahim told The Peninsula.
“It is also essential to ask your physician before initiating over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements that you may find in stores or on the Internet, as some of these have no sufficient research data to support their benefit and may even be associated with more harm than benefit, affecting your liver enzymes or kidney function for instance,” she added.
Obesity is a chronic disease that is defined as abnormal fat accumulation in different parts of the body and is classified by Body Mass Index (BMI). Overweight state is defined as a BMI of 25-29.9 kg/m2, and obesity is defined as a BMI of more than 30 kg/m2. Obesity is associated with increasing risk of weight-related diseases, including but not limited to type 2 diabetes mellitus, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, sleep disturbances, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
“Similar to diabetes and high blood pressure, obesity is a chronic disease and requires long term treatment and follow up. It is common to regain the weight you previously lost, especially if you are not compliant with dietary changes or if you are taking weight-gain medications, such as steroids and certain types of psychiatric medications,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
“According to your baseline weight, it is recommended to adhere to lifestyle changes for an average of 3-6 month to see successful results. If you opt for using weight-reduction medications, follow up is advised to allow your doctor to check for medication side effects and adjust the dose if possible. Similarly, if you opt for bariatric surgery, follow up will allow your doctor to check for weight loss progress, possible complications of surgery, vitamin levels and your general wellbeing after surgery,” she added.
Treatment of obesity necessitates a holistic approach that includes dietary changes, regular exercise and stress control.
These measures are indicated in all stages of obesity and comprise an essential part of the weight loss process. Prevention of obesity is an essential component of its management and starts with lifestyle modifications.
“Due to its association with multiple high-risk conditions, the management of obesity starts with prevention. This is achieved by screening patients for high BMI or associated diseases in routine doctor visits,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
“It can also be achieved by spreading awareness about the complications of obesity and its effects on health and quality of life. Without screening, many patients will not receive proper counseling regarding lifestyle modifications, medical treatment or surgical treatment options,” she added.
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