Almost six out of every ten Canarians are overweight, and two of them are obese.

Almost six out of every ten canaries53.5%) suffer from excess weight. For two of them this is an excess develops into obesity. The problem also gets worse with age, as it is people over 65 who have higher than average rates of obesity and overweight to such an extent that 64% of women and men over this age suffer from one of the two conditions.

This data, taken from the 2021 Canary Islands Health Survey, highlights a problem emerging around the world: obesity is becoming a real pandemic. In fact, along with smoking, it is one of the most important modifiable risk factors.

For this reason in International Obesity Day, qCelebrating every March 4th, experts remember that this pathology not only affects the health of the population in itself, but also plays an important role as a risk factor. It’s no wonder that obesity increases, among other things, the risk of cardiovascular disease. And, for example, a button. The Canary Islands, where obesity and overweight have been widespread for many years, are much more likely to die from coronary heart disease.

“Its impact on cardiovascular disease is increasing as it is an important factor in a healthy lifestyle.blood pressure, diabetes and hypercholesterolemiaexplains Ricardo Huerta, clinical cardiologist and hemodynamicist at Vitas Las Palmas Hospital. It is estimated, for example, that 60 to 70% of hypertension in adults is due to obesity as well as a family history of hypertension. “If we add smoking, we already have a perfect storm,” says the cardiologist.

According to the Ministry of Health, in 2022, 25.5% of Canary Islanders suffered from hypertension or high blood pressure (the highest rate in Spain), 33.5% had cholesterol levels (the second highest rate in the country) and 10.6% suffered from diabetes. These three chronic problems are closely related to excess weight.

Very often, patients with a family history of hypertension develop overweight-obesity and ends up becoming hypertensive at an early age, while a normal-weight brother who takes care of himself does not suffer from it,” explains Huerta. Thus, the comorbidities that are most often observed at consultation are hypertensive heart disease, frequent arrhythmia and hypercholesterolemia with a family history of early myocardial infarction. “Cardiologists quickly treat these pathologies so that the patient improves their quality of life and lives longer,” Huertas insists.

Obesity in the Canary Islands has repeatedly been linked to a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and poverty in the Canary Islands. And 31.2% of Canarians spend the day sitting and walking very little, a figure that rises to 36.3% for people over 65. 28% of Canarians also admit that they have a very low activity level. In terms of diet, 30% of Canarians consume baked goods, sweets or sugary cereals three or more times a day, while 5% consume fast food with the same frequency.

In the Canary Islands, 25.5% of adults suffer from hypertension, the highest rate in Spain.

In 2004, the Canary Islands Health and Income Study (ESI) attempted to link excess weight to poverty, concluding that 64.7% of people suffering from this disease survived with less than 400 euros per month. In this regard, what is most concerning is how obesity spreads throughout society, affecting even the youngest children, with 32% of children aged 2 to 17 on the islands being overweight or obese.

Taking advantage of the celebration of this World Day, fourteen scientific societies have released the Spanish guideline for the comprehensive and interdisciplinary treatment of obesity in adults, “Gia Giro”, with the aim of offering updated information and tools on this disease to both health and medical professionals. and patients, in the absence of a National Plan to Combat Adult Obesity.

The president of the Spanish Society Against Obesity (Seedo), Maria del Mar Malagon, stressed that the guidelines are a “challenge” and a “historic milestone” in the fight against the disease, as updated information has been lacking in recent years.

In this sense, he warned that forecasts for 2035 indicate an increase 1% per year of this amount. In total, the guidance is divided into five blocks, including the need to treat obesity as “a chronic and complex disease that needs to be treated in the long term”; the need to advance in personalization, approach and treatment, as well as the implementation of public awareness measures, as detailed by Seedo Vice President Albert Lecoube.

In this regard, the vice president of Seedo pointed out the need to leave behind the stigma of the patient, since suffering from this disease does not depend on the person himself, but rather “obesity chooses you.” Thus, he insisted on changing the focus of treatment and focusing on the causes of obesity, as well as empowering the patient to make decisions. There is also a request from various scientific organizations to stop calling this disease “obesity” to avoid stigmatization of the patient.

According to José Manuel Fernández García, coordinator of the Nutrition Working Group of the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN), the guidelines also “emphasize the important interdisciplinary role of primary care professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. “a disease with so many comorbidities associated with cardiovascular disease,” as well as “certain types of cancer,” “respiratory, digestive, joint, mental and reproductive health conditions.”

In any case, in addition to prevention, an important role is played by seeking a consultation with a cardiologist if warning signs are identified, or an annual preventive examination from the age of 45, or even earlier if there are risk factors.

“The most common, although not the only signs that warn of the need to see a doctor, are chest pain and shortness of breath associated with exertion and relieved by rest. The sudden onset of this type of symptom, even at rest and in a previously healthy state, represents a potentially fatal emergency,” Huerta concludes.

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