Background: The global epidemic of obesity will see normal weight adults constituting a mere one-third of the global population by 2025. Although appetite and weight are regulated by a complex integration of neurological, endocrine and gastrointestinal feedback mechanisms, there is a constant interaction between psychological state, physical impairment, presence of comorbid chronic disease and medications.
Methods: We discuss two cases and reveal a practical approach to investigating and managing patients with obesity and diabetes in the ‘real world'. Within this scope, the aetiology, associated disease burden, and pharmacological therapies for the treatment of the obese patient with type 2 diabetes are reviewed. An insight into non-surgical metabolic rehabilitation is also provided.
Summary: Lifestyle, including diet, exercise, medications, as well as genetic predisposition, and rarely, endocrinopathies should be considered in the assessment of the obese patient. Investigations are not complex and include cardiometabolic and nutritional screens and an assessment for institution of graded, safe levels of exercise. In more complicated patients, referral to a multidisciplinary outpatient program may be necessary and it is not uncommon for patients to lose between 10-20% of their initial weight. Despite this, metabolic surgery may be necessary as further weight loss with long-term weight maintenance may be medically indicated. The type of surgery is tailored to the patient’s medical risk and co-morbidities as well as likelihood of compliance with the required follow-up.
Conclusion: It is the opinion of the authors that metabolic rehabilitation should be intensive, multidisciplinary, and have a supervised exercise program, as the gold standard of care. These suggestions are based on the clinical pearls gained over two decades of clinical experience working in one of Australia’s most innovative multidisciplinary metabolic rehabilitation programs caring for patients with severe obesity.
Keywords: Weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity pharmacotherapy, bariatric surgery, metabolic rehabilitation, lifestyle intervention.