Excess weight – are hormones to blame?

Excess weight, also known as “adipositas” or obesity, is a major health problem in the Western world. The number of overweight people in this country is also increasingly rapidly: Around every fifth Austrian has a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 and is therefore classified as obese. Quality of life worsens for persons suffering from obesity, as they have to deal with problems of the cardiovascular system, diabetes and joint pain. In addition, life expectancy is also reduced.

Adipositas can be caused by various factors. Eating too many carbohydrates is usually to blame – however, people react in different ways to this kind of malnutrition. As a consequence of eating the wrong kinds of food, the body’s hormone levels and metabolism become unbalanced. The body then increases production of certain hormones and reduces the production of others. Fat cells produce estrogen, which in turn promotes fat accumulation.

This hormonal imbalance frequently makes it difficult to lose weight and a long-term successful outcome will usually not be possible.

Frequently, diseases of the thyroid gland can be the cause of excess weight, even if large amounts of carbohydrates have not been eaten. T3 and T4 hormones, which are produced in the thyroid gland, play a particularly important role in cases of excess weight. If too few of these thyroid gland hormones are produced, the body’s energy metabolism ceases to function properly. More symptoms of thyroid gland weakness appear, such as “being swelled up”, sensitivity to cold, constipation and sluggishness – signs that the metabolism has slowed down.

By administering thyroid hormones, the metabolism can be stimulated and stubborn excess weight tackled. The quantity of thyroid hormones required must be determined for each individual case. Hormonal Regeneration® (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, BHRT), customized for each patient, uses bioidentical hormones similar in structure to human hormones and can be of help in long-term weight loss, combined with a change of diet and physical training.

When untreated, adipositas can be the cause of serious diseases. According to a study conducted in Great Britain, joint deterioration can be caused by a change in the production of leptin and resistin in the fat cells. Leptin regulates body weight and strengthens the immune system. If it is present in excessive amounts, however, it triggers inflammatory reactions and affects articular cartilage. In turn, resistin promotes inflammatory cell activity and is present in excessive quantities in cases of arthritis.

A medically assisted weight loss therapy can help patients to break out of this harmful cycle. By using gentle liposuction with microcannulas on local problem zones, estrogen-producing fat pads on the abdomen and hips which promote further fat accumulation in the body can be reduced. The quantity of fat cells responsible for the production of leptin and resistin are thus decreased at the same time.

Can this “annoying” fat be of any use? Of course it can – “mesenchymal” stem cells can be obtained from the extracted fat for the regeneration of damaged organs, and also deteriorated cartilage, bones and joints. In addition to their regenerative potential, stem cells from autologous fat also seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, whereby they can improve mobility in patients suffering from arthritis. Treatment of the joints with stem cells from autologous fat is carried out on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.

An individually adapted combination of gentle liposuction with microcannulas, therapy with bioidentical hormones, a change of diet and regularly practiced sports reduces excess weight in the long term and promotes a hormonal balance. The stem cells obtained in this way can be used for the regeneration of joints damaged by too much strain.

In this way, futile attempts to lose weight can be transformed into successful efforts to attain an ideal weight and healthier joints.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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