ObesityAmerica wasstudying a neuropeptide which activates body

ObesityAmerica wasstudying a neuropeptide which activates body

ObesityAmerica has become a society obsessed with appearance, especially weight.We are conditioned at a young age to believe the only way to be normal is to bethin. This norm is projected to millions of Americans each day throughtelevision, magazines, billboards and every other form of media and advertising.How are people to know acceptance and happiness with themselves and others whenour culture propagates what the perfect body should be.

It is the search for the elusive, perfect body that has created a thirty-three billion dollars a year weight loss industry. Yet few reduce their bodyfat and even fewer maintain their weight loss beyond two to three years. Thisleads to yo-yo dieting and increased low self-esteem of people constantlystruggling to become what they see as a normal member of society.

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A problem that lies within this problem, is the chronically obese person.Obesity is when one’s body wieght is 25-30% above normal. While overweight is20-30 pounds over normal.Most people, including health care providers seethe problem with obesity as eating too much and exercising too little.

But intruth, for many obese people the problem lies with genetic predisposition,metabolic problems, binge eating or sometimes all. These factors make dietingvirtually impossible because these problems are not ones that can be solved bysimply cutting calories. Especially the problem of binge eating.Compulsive “binge” eating in the obese is not caused by just wanting to eat.The want to eat is caused by looking for a sense of security. A sense ofsecurity wanted because there are poor or no coping skills for stress ordepression and low self-esteem.

Therefore, when a compulsive overeater or bingeeater diet, the diet is doomed to fail because the weight returns when theperson resumes normal eating. Thus creating an even greater depression.Now many obese people have medical research to turn to as to why the weightthey lost usually comes back. Recent research has strongly backed the set-pointtheory, which says that when an individual loses weight, the body’s metabolicrate adjusts in order to return to the baseline weight.Research with animals has revealed a protein called leptin. Leptincirculates in the blood and signals the set point mechanism in the brain, whichtells how much fat is present in the body.

The protein is believed to beproduced by an obesity gene called ob. When leptin is injected into rodents, itlessened appetite and increased calories being burned. However, leptin is stillvery much in early experimental stages, because even though it may gauge howmuch fat you have it does not at this point tell how much you want.Another recent breakthrough was the discovery of unocortin. Unocortinappears to suppress appetite when the body is under severe stress. It is acousin of the brain chemical that generates the body’s “fight or flight”response. Unocortin was discovered at the Salk Institute, when a researcher wasstudying a neuropeptide which activates body stress reactors.

He noticedreceptors in parts of the brain where the chemical did not exist. However, itmay be a long time before unocortin is actually a consumer drug. At this time,the only way unocortin works is to be directly injected into the brain. Acompany called Neurocin Biosciences, is already researching the brain receptorunocortin locks onto to work.For now, the serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs are the only diet drugsbeing used in the U.S. These drugs work by affecting eating behavior.

Eatingbehavior is the result of a mixture of neurotransmitters. The link betweenserotonin and eating disorders was discovered in the early 1980’s. Theserotonin inhibitors include Lovan, Redux and phen-fen (Phentermine andFenfluramine). Phen-fen is the drug combination currently recieving so muchattention. Phentermine is similar to an amphetamine and it works to increasemetabolic rate.

Fenfluramine(brand name Pondimin) in-creases the serotoninlevel, which decreases appetite. However, neither drug works alone. They onlyhave optimum effect together.Phen-fen is how I became interested in the research of new obesity drugs.I first learned of phen-fen in June. The article I read in the Knoxville paperabout people who had taken the medicine, showed it to be what I and many othershad been waiting for.

I finally believed my real chance to lose weight hadarrived. So with real anticipation, I made the two and half hour drive toMonticello, Kentucky. My first month on the medicine was great, I lost fourteenpounds and completely lost any desire to eat.

The compulsion I normally feltlate at night to snack was gone. My problem with phen-fen began the secondmonth, when I started experiencing depression. One of the possible side effectsmentioned was depression in people who had suffered clinical depression or wereprone to depression. I knew this when I started the medicine, but I thoughtanything was worth risking if it meant losing weight. By the third month, thedepression was worse and I had to make a decision. Was it really worth losingweight if it meant losing my mental stability?I decided it was not worth it to me. When I made the decision, I could notbelieve the choice I made.

My whole life has been spent wishing I had adifferent body. I thought that losing weight was somehow going to solve everyproblem I had. But when I realized I did not want to be depressed again, Irealized that thin people have problems to and my problems would exist no matterwhat the size tag in my clothes read.After I quit taking the medicine, the urge to eat whether I was hungry ornot did return. But I have continued to fight the urges and so far have onlygained a couple of pounds back from what I lost. Perhaps the thing I most ofthe medicine, was the energy and the feeling of motivation.Other side effects of phen-fen are dry mouth, dizziness, short-term memoryloss, and in some the serious problem of pulmonary hypertension.

The NewEngland Journal of Medicine presented an editorial on the benefits and risk ofphen-fen and other drugs in this class. The physicians who wrote the article,wrote that considering the health risks of obesity for some, that the possiblerisk for pulmonary hypertension did not outweigh the benefits of the drugs ifused appropriately.Overall, I am glad I took the risk to try phen-fen.

There was always theposibility that the medicine might have worked for me. But I am also glad thatI have an understanding of the body’s metabolic nature and was able to recognizemy symptoms for depression. For many others, the lack of understanding of whatis going on in their body is why many who have tried phen-fen have not beensuccessful with their experience. Therefore, it is the physician’sresponsibility to completely inform clients of all possible side effects and tothoroughly explain to them what is going on in their body while they are takingthe medication. It is also anyone’s responsibility who is serious about takingany medication of this sort, to find out for themselves what is going on andwhat could happen.In this paper I have outlined various physical causes of obesity andpossible treatments for the physical factors.

But medication, exercise, healthydiet, none of these things will effectively cause permanent weight loss until aperson is ready to be happy with their body and their overall self. You cannotsuccessfully lose weight if you think your life is suddenly going to get betterafter the weight is gone. You have to want to do it because you love yourselfand you want a healthier body. I think this is the most important thing I havefinally learned about life and about myself. I hope that in the future therewill be a time when people are not judged by their appearance, therefore thosethat think a different body will make them happy, will finally be able to bebelieve their worth is based on who they are and not what they look like.

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