Glossary of obesity terms

  • Angina
    Being overweight contributes to angina which is a chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart. Angina increases the chance of a heart attack and a stroke.
  • Asthma or breathing disorders
    Obesity can lead to narrowing of the airway and therefore causing difficulty in breathing. Such difficulty could restrict normal physical activity such as walking up stairs.
  • Bariatric surgeon
    An upper GI surgeon that specialises in weight loss surgery.
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
    A mathematical calculation used to determine whether a person is overweight. It is calculated by dividing a person's body weight in kilograms by the height in metres squared.
  • Cancer
    In both males and females, obesity increases the risk of developing cancer of the large intestine and the rectum. In females the risk of cancer of the breast, uterus, cervix and ovary is increased.
  • Diabetes
    Having a large amount of excess body fat can cause a build of sugar in your body. This can develop into diabetes, a condition where a person's body is unable to control the sugar levels. Diabetes is a serious health condition and can increase the risk of kidney failure and blindness.
  • Gastric band
    Gastric banding
    Gastric band, sometimes known as 'lap band' is a highly effective weight loss surgery procedure to help overweight people achieve substantial and long-term weight loss.

    The operation limits how much food you can eat. An inflatable band is placed around the stomach to divide it into two parts. This creates a smaller pouch at the top, which takes less food to make you feel full. The food then passes slowly through the opening left by the band into the lower part of your stomach and continues on as normal.

    The gastric band can be inflated with saline solution to reduce the size of the opening into the lower part of the stomach. This will restrict the amount of food you can eat further, and make you feel fuller for longer.

    The band is inserted laparoscopically, through four or five small incisions. This is sometimes referred to as keyhole surgery. Adjustments to the gastric band are made by injecting fluid through a very small tube which has a special button-like reservoir just under your skin. It can be inflated and deflated in this way, until the right level of restriction is established. It usually takes two adjustments to find the right level of restriction, but additional adjustments may be required. These will be carried out at your BMI hospital, and the first one is usually six weeks after lap band surgery.

  • Gastric bypass
    Gastric bypass
    A gastric bypass is also a highly effective weight loss surgery procedure. It helps very overweight patients to achieve substantial and permanent weight loss. It does this by restricting the amount you can eat, and by reducing the amount of calories absorbed from the food that you do eat. It is a more effective and less risky procedure than stomach stapling which used to be carried out.

    The gastric bypass operation creates a small stomach pouch in the same way as the gastric band. But instead of the food passing into the stomach through the band, it bypasses the stomach and much of the intestine through a small intestine that has been rerouted and grafted onto the small stomach pouch.

    The procedure can be carried out laparoscopically, by keyhole surgery, through five or six small incisions. It can also be carried out as an open operation with one vertical incision in the abdomen.

  • Intra-Gastric Balloon Programme (BIB programme)
    Intra gastric balloon
    The BIB programme ™ is a medically supervised programme that will help you take control of your weight without invasive surgery or drugs. It does so by helping you to feel full, thus reducing the urge for food, whilst you undertake a weight loss programme with the help and support of our team of doctors and dietitians.

    The Intragastric balloon is a soft, silicon balloon that is inserted into the stomach and filled with sterile saline. The balloon is designed to partially fill your stomach, giving you a feeling of fullness. It will not only make you feel less hungry, but feel fuller more quickly after small meals. The balloon is removed after 6 months.

    Experienced weight-loss professionals will consult with you and design a programme to help you successfully reach and maintain your weight loss goals. Your team will be there every step of the way with encouragement and support. During regularly scheduled meetings with your dietitian or nurse you will learn the principles needed to manage your weight and promote long-term health.

    How do I know if the BIB programme is right for me?

    If you have a BMI of 30 or more, the BIB programme could be the solution for you. But please remember, this is only a guide. Our team of experts will give you a comprehensive health assessment based on your body mass index together with other relevant health factors.

    To make an appointment for a free assessment with our dietitian at your nearest BMI Hospital, or to receive an information booklet, call 0800 051 5030 or complete the enquiry form.

  • Genetics
    The study of inheritance patterns of specific traits.
  • Heart attacks
    Obese people have a high proportion of body fat, and more fat deposits in arteries to the heart. This increases the chance of having a stroke and heart attack.
  • High blood pressure
    High blood pressure is an increased pressure of the blood in the arteries. High blood pressure is a major factor in heart failure.
  • High cholesterol levels
    Eating too many saturated fats can raise the levels of 'bad' cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol in your blood can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease or a stroke.
  • Infertility
    Obesity is linked with infertility in both men and women. It has been suggested obesity in women creates hormonal imbalances and disruption of menstrual cycles. Whereas in men it can result in lower levels of the hormone testosterone, a diminished sex drive and a reduced ability to produce sperm.
  • Laparoscopic
    This is a surgical method of conducting surgery using specially designed instruments and cameras that can be conducted through small incisions. This minimizes tissue scarring. This is sometimes referred to as keyhole surgery
  • Life expectancy
    The average number of years a person is expected to live. The age is based on a national average per age group, and other factors.
  • Morbid Obesity
    Morbid obesity refers to individuals who are 50 - 100% above their ideal body weight. It is most frequently measured by body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height and an adult individual who has a BMI of 30 - 40 is considered obese and over 40 as morbidly obese. Once a person reaches the level of morbid obesity, the weight causes quicker and more extensive damage to the body. What causes morbid obesity?
  • NICE guidelines
    National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health. They have set guidelines for doctors and surgeons to assist in the decision of whether a patient is suitable for treatment/surgery.
  • Obesity
    This section of the BMI weight loss website provides information about the health risks associated with being obese, especially morbid obesity. You will also find helpful facts and figures about the causes of obesity, supported by a glossary of obesity terms.
  • Osteoarthritis
    The extra weight that is carried on the body puts pressure on the joints, especially the knees, ankles and lower back. This can cause crippling pain even when walking.
  • Sleep apnoea
    When a person stops breathing temporarily during sleep. It is a condition that often affects overweight people.
  • Stomach Stapling
    This is a procedure that used to be carried out by bariatric surgeons but has now been replaced by the safer and more effective gastric bypass operation.
  • Urinary incontinence
    Being overweight increases the pressure on the bladder and surrounding muscles. This weakens them and can allow urine to leak out when you cough or sneeze.