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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Editor’s note: The conversation surrounding weight-loss drugs is a sticky one as these medications always require medical supervision and guidance. As these prescription medications become more ubiquitous in the broader weight-loss discussion, this article is meant to explore options that you can discuss with your doctor but is not meant to replace medical advice. Ideally, the discussion should include an understanding of potential side effects, as well as a plan for before, during, and after usage to sustain any derived benefits.

Mark Kini Ozempic I was brought up to believe that hard work, discipline, and consistency are the core tenants to any fitness and nutrition program. While this is true for most of us, it is not always as black and white for everyone. Most of us know someone who has struggled with weight loss their entire lives. The CDC states that 42.6 percent of the US population is obese. Consider the fact that most US cities have a fast-food restaurant on every corner. In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported in 2021 that nearly two-thirds of young adults’ and children’s diets consisted of ultra-processed and convenience foods, which are often addictive, pack in the calories, but often hold little nutritional value. Many of these “foods” are engineered to increase your desire for more, while also turning off your fullness receptors. It is easier, faster, and less expensive to get a Big Mac than making or ordering a salad or healthy meal, taking note that a normal-size Big Mac meal is 1080 calories. This is quickly becoming an existential threat to the current health care system and continues to drive up insurance premiums each year.

“Originally intended to treat conditions like Type 2 diabetes, these medications have shown promising results for individuals struggling to shed excess pounds...”
In the quest for effective weight loss solutions, pharmaceutical interventions like Wegovy and Ozempic (semaglutide) as well as other related drugs have emerged as potential game-changers. Originally intended to treat conditions like Type 2 diabetes, these medications have shown promising results for individuals struggling to shed excess pounds—but, like any medication, they also come with their own set of considerations. Let’s delve into the world of weight loss drugs, examining the ideal candidates, pros, and cons associated with these treatments, as well as how to start the conversation with your health care provider.

Ideal Candidates:
According to the scientific data, weight loss drugs are typically recommended for individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or those with a BMI of 27 or higher who have additional obesity-related health issues such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Ideal candidates may have tried traditional methods of weight loss, such as diet and exercise, without success, and are in need of additional support to achieve their goals.

One of the primary advantages of weight loss drugs like Ozempic is their ability to facilitate significant and sustained weight loss in many individuals. These medications work by suppressing appetite, increasing feelings of fullness, or altering the absorption of nutrients, resulting in reduced calorie intake and, consequently, weight loss. For some people, these drugs can be a valuable tool in jump-starting their weight loss journey and improving overall health from chronic conditions, if accompanied by lifestyle changes. Even small changes in weigh can have a positive impact on one’s health.

While weight loss drugs can be effective for many individuals, they are not without their drawbacks. Common side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, and headaches. There are even reports of their effects on other medications, including birth control (although this needs further study). Additionally, some medications carry a risk of more serious side effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and liver damage. As with any medication, there is also the potential for drug interactions and adverse reactions, particularly in individuals with underlying health conditions. The narrative is that these medications are a quick fix, but it will likely still require considerable lifestyle changes.

Before starting a weight loss drug regimen, it’s required for individuals to consult with their health care provider to determine if they are a suitable candidate and to discuss potential risks and benefits—remember, these are prescription medications. In addition to medication, a comprehensive approach to weight loss should include dietary modifications, regular physical activity, behavioral therapy, and ongoing support from health care professionals. Sadly, weight loss drugs are not a magic bullet but can be used as part of a broader strategy for long-term weight management.

Weight loss drugs like Ozempic and others offer a promising avenue for individuals struggling to achieve their weight loss goals, particularly those with obesity-related health issues. While these medications can be effective in facilitating weight loss, fully understanding the potential complications and assessing the risks are essential to overall health. By working closely with health care providers and adopting a comprehensive approach to weight management, individuals can maximize the benefits of these medications while minimizing potential risks, ultimately improving their overall health and well-being.   [CD0524]
Mark Kini is the President & CEO of Boston Chauffeur. He can be reached at mark@bostonchauffeur.com.