Senator and cardiologist: Obesity is a transparent disease. It is not enough to tell the patient to move more

Senator and cardiologist: Obesity is a transparent disease. It is not enough to tell the patient to move more

Since I started to deal more with this problem in the Senate, I have translated my knowledge into clinical practice: during a visit, I enter the patient’s weight, height, and calculate BMI. It is also necessary to introduce waist circumference measurement to detect abdominal obesity. I would like the problem of obesity to be a priority of the Polish presidency in Europe – says Senator Agnieszka Gorgoń-Komor, cardiologist.

Katarzyna Pinkosz, Wprost: As a senator, you are involved in many activities concerning patients with obesity. As a cardiologist, do you see the problem of these patients in your office? Why is obesity such an important problem from the perspective of a cardiologist?

Senator Dr. Agnieszka Gorgoń-Komor: Obesity is a very common problem in cardiology clinics: people who have heart disease are most often obese. I think that about 2/3 of cardiology patients are also overweight and obese. Obesity – or rather obesity – was and still is very often transparent. Also because as clinicians we could not deal with its treatment. We treated hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, according to guidelines and standards, but we did not treat their causes.

However, I have seen for myself that if overweight and obese patients changed their diet, lifestyle, and took medication, then when they came for a check-up they would say: “Doctor, my cholesterol has gone down, my legs have stopped hurting, I have more strength.” I have noticed that it is worth talking about this, motivating and supporting patients, and not just saying: “Please eat less and move more.”

Is it not enough to say in the office: “Please eat less and move more”?

Such a message will not change the patient’s approach and will certainly not support him.

I now try to adopt a different formula, and even when I notice that the patient has only lost a kilogram, I say: “If you look good, there is a kilogram less, you must be feeling better.”

And it works?

It works! I start saying key words that bring me closer to the patient. I see the effects. Since I started to deal more with this problem in the Senate, I have transferred my knowledge to clinical practice: I enter the patient’s weight and height in the card, I calculate their BMI.

It is also necessary to introduce waist circumference measurement to detect abdominal obesity and explain to the patient why it is a disease.

When a patient loses weight, will their prognosis for heart disease also improve?

Of course, obesity is a risk factor for cardiological and cardiovascular diseases, from which Poles most often die. Obesity is also a risk factor for many cancer diseases, from which Poles also very often die.

It is very important to treat obesity: from the patient’s point of view, this means that their risk factors will decrease. From the point of view of all of us, we will have fewer problems with treating other diseases. There is no other disease like obesity that would have such an impact on the development of other diseases as obesity.

It is increasingly being said that Poland needs a long-term strategy for the prevention and treatment of obesity.

It should definitely be a long-term strategy. We are trying to gather experts to define exactly what we want to change. As our presidency of the European Union approaches, I think this is an excellent topic for our presidency.

Is this a topic that Poland could take up?

In the Senate, 2025 is the year of prevention, from 2025 health education in schools will be introduced, everything is tied into one whole.

Is there a chance that thanks to these actions, fewer Poles will be obese? The statistics showing that 9 million Poles are obese are terrifying…

Health education and prevention are certainly very important, but treatment is also necessary. In the case of lung cancer, we cannot just tell the patient to stop smoking. Of course, the patient should stop smoking, but when the cancer is already there, it must also be treated, it is not enough to stop smoking. It is similar with obesity. We must act in two directions.

Experts are waiting for the extension of the KOS BAR program, as well as for the next programs: KOS BMI 30 Plus and KOS BMI for children.

These programs should be implemented and implemented as programs that help patients treat obesity.

Will there be fewer patients in cardiology offices then?

Let’s hope so; then we will focus more on prevention. Just because there is no cavities, it does not mean that the dentist has nothing to do; he can treat malocclusions, other diseases. Students and doctors from other countries come to Poland to learn what cavities or cervical cancer look like; we have to stop this, we have to treat better. And when it comes to obesity, we can be the first country to start dealing with this problem, we just have to start acting.

What actions do you want to take to support people suffering from obesity?

I will definitely talk to the Minister of Health to emphasize the problem of obesity as one of the priorities during Poland’s EU presidency, as well as to create outpatient metabolic care in primary healthcare, so that patients with obesity can be directed there, among other places. The most important thing is to know where to refer patients with obesity. It is important that access to treatment is close to the patient. The patient should be able to talk to a doctor, dietician, have psychological support, and if necessary, also the possibility of pharmacological or bariatric treatment.

Similar Posts