Obesity rates are rising in the United States, and there is no indication that this trend will change. Though this is certainly a health issue in general, it is also an issue that changes the way that physicians must work. Below are just a few of the ways that rising obesity rates are affecting how physicians do their jobs.
New Challenges: Changing Diagnoses
One of the biggest changes facing physicians has to do with how they diagnose their patients. As the body type of an obese individual can mask or change the common symptoms of some illnesses, doctors aren’t necessarily able to rely on their tried and true methods with every patient. As such, physicians are now working to ensure that they’re able to use multiple criteria to diagnose individuals properly even when their body types deviate from the previous norm.
Increased Weight Requirements: New Equipment
Some of the ways that physicians and medical facilities are being impacted are surprisingly mundane. Many facilities are now scrambling to find new equipment that can better help their patients, ranging from beds with higher weight capacities to scales that better weigh their patients. Hospitals and other health facilities are having to invest in things like 750lb capacity bed frames to support patients. These tools are absolutely vital now, especially with obesity on the rise.
New Symptoms: Dealing With Comorbidities
Some of the issues dealt with by physicians are also related to the fact that obesity tends to bring with it a host of comorbidities. From diabetes to high blood pressure, those who have higher BMIs might bring with them a fair number of other conditions that physicians have to treat. Then, physicians must be aware of those conditions that the patients are being seen for and also those underlying issues that might cause them problems.
The New Normal: Looking Past Biases
Finally, physicians are now working to deal with some of their own biases about obese individuals in medical settings. Though the idea of looking at weight first as a primary motivator of symptoms is still prevalent, it is changing. Physicians must now look beyond this one medical issue in order to ensure that their patients receive the care that they need.
The rising rate of obesity is forcing the medical field to adapt. Whether it’s in terms of equipment or treatment, the way that medicine is practiced is changing. This kind of adaptability is a must, because the changing population necessitates new standards of care that will keep them safe and healthy.