SheO 2024: Adrianna Sobol: “Obesity is a disease, the patient needs support”

SheO 2024: Adrianna Sobol: "Obesity is a disease, the patient needs support"

People suffering from obesity need support and, above all, they must know that obesity is a disease that needs to be treated, although the road to health is often bumpy. Patients are often socially isolated, ashamed and stigmatized. Let's change it – said Adrianna Sobol, awarded at the SheO Awards 2024 in the Patient Ambassador category.

Katarzyna Pinkosz, Wprost: You support patients with many diseases, and how did it happen that you started working with people with obesity?

Adrianna Sobol: I have been working with obese patients for years, this is a unique group that requires support, psychoeducation, and coping with the stigma that still exists in our society. Patients, doctors and society must understand that obesity is a disease, not an aesthetic defect. In my work as a health psychologist, I work with chronically ill people, including those with obesity, and I see a great need for support and education.

People suffering from obesity often struggle with a difficult path to health, and at the same time struggle with emotional disorders, depression, and confusion as to where to look for professional support.

Obese patients need psychological support: also for treatment?

The road to health and treatment of obesity is a long and bumpy road, requiring an interdisciplinary approach and the help of a team of medical professionals.

Patients also need emotional support to cope primarily with various types of body image disorders and depression; they also need support in motivation and perseverance on the way to health. They often isolate themselves socially and feel ashamed – mainly because we cannot talk about obesity.

That's why I'm glad that as part of the “Let's talk honestly about obesity” campaign, a dictionary was created on how to talk supportively about obesity, because I have the impression that often, even without any bad intentions, we offend, deny, and, above all, cause great distress to patients struggling with obesity. with this disease. Let's change it; this requires education and support.

First of all, we must remember that obesity is a disease?

This is the basis. I run the podcast “Health starts in the head”; patients often share their stories. Many of them found out very late that they were obese. This changed their self-perception, approach to their health and appearance. We need to educate loudly on this topic; Not only patients and their relatives, but also doctors need such education.

Before you started working with obese patients, you worked with oncology patients. Prof. Mariusz Wyleżoł, who treats obese patients bariatrically, often says that a patient with obesity is in a worse situation than a patient with cancer. Strong words; Would you agree with this statement?

My professional path was from oncology to various chronic diseases, including obesity. I agree with the Professor's words. Overweight and obesity is one of the risk factors for cancer. A cancer patient usually arouses sympathy, his needs are often the center of attention.

An obese patient does not receive such support. In the office of a gynecologist, internist or other doctor, he often hears: “Please move more and eat less.” A patient with obesity is not a lazy person, these are people who have hormonal and metabolic disorders and require very specific treatment. It's a very long process.

We know that an oncology patient causes support, but on the other hand, we believe that an obese patient is to blame for this. And it's just a disease like any other.

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