Why finding out if you have a genetic mutation linked to obesity is important

I’ve been a busy little bee, but have come across something fairly interesting. I bring up my childhood frequently — usually in the form of stories and memories that hold significant value to me and my MC4r journey.

I bring these up because I think it’s important to understand that a person has demons in their past. Regardless of how small or big they may appear to another person, they can hold significance to the person telling them.

I came across an article regarding childhood genetic obesity and it made me think about my childhood. It made me think about the small moments that affected me and the big moments and then I began to think about all the kids going through them right now.

According to the article, genetically caused obesity can present with few symptoms. Now I can understand why it was overlooked when I grew up, it was the 90s and I think the idea of genetic related obesity wasn’t really a thing. But, 30 years on I do believe it should be explored more by doctors when a child (or patient in general) has an obesity problem and not dismissed merely as an unhealthy lifestyle.

I can’t count how many times doctors have told me to lose weight, and haven’t even considered other options. Usually, I’m the one that has to tell them I have a genetic problem and in a way I’m lucky because I can tell them, and I can argue my side. But what about all the people that don’t know and have to sit there and take that ignorance.

In the study, 2,548 children with severe obesity where genetic causes of obesity were not suspected, a total of 22 were found to have mutations. The 22 patients presented with obesity, but no other symptoms. Now from previous blog posts we know genetic mutations are rare, hence only 22 people among the sample presenting with genetic mutations. But think about that for a moment, the lives of 22 children changed the minute they found out they had a genetic mutation, 22 children who presented no symptoms of a genetic mutation and most likely would have never know without this study.

I immediately thought about all the other children out there who don’t know. Who are going to go through exactly what I went through, except might never know because the government and doctors are so quick to blame the person and their lifestyle than figure out the real problem.

Yes, at the end of the day, to lose the weight it comes down to diet and exercise (and one day we might all have access to a medication) but finding out that you have a genetic problem, and the knowing it’s not your fault, has such an impact on your mental well-being that it’s worth taking the time to find the answer. Which means doctors should invest the time for the sake of their patients.

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