How can losing weight help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions?

How can losing weight help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions?

How can losing weight help to reduce the risk of chronic conditions?
Kaitlyn Dykman
Last updated:
June 26, 2023
5 min read
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Weight loss medications get a lot of attention for obvious reasons, namely how well they work to reduce body weight. But you might not know that they can also help improve other health issues—especially if you have a chronic condition like prediabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a big deal considering that these medical conditions (and many more) are associated with obesity. The even better news? Weight loss alone is sometimes enough to improve or even reverse certain chronic conditions. 

Found, an online weight-care program, can help you achieve all of the above. Prescription weight-loss medication is one component, along with behavioral change and social support—including an app that lets members track and share their habits and victories. Found’s healthcare providers are trained in obesity medicine and knowledgeable in how medications can help achieve weight loss in individuals with prediabetes, insulin resistance, and PCOS. Found uses prescription medications to create a personalized solution for each member and address biology’s role in weight. Get started by taking Found’s quick quiz

The health benefits of weight-loss medications at Found

Of the many weight-loss medications available these days, Found-affiliated clinicians prescribe three that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for chronic weight management: Alli® (orlistat), Saxenda® (liraglutide), and Wegovy® (semaglutide). Found’s toolkit also includes a number of medicines that were approved by the FDA for conditions other than weight loss. These medications were originally developed to treat other conditions like type 2 diabetes but during clinical trials, weight loss was observed as a side effect.

Found also prescribes weight loss medications off-label. Off-label prescribing is a common practice by clinicians across the country where doctors prescribe FDA-approved medications at different dosages or for other reasons than what the drug is approved to treat based on solid clinical evidence. 

Research shows that certain weight-loss medications—including those prescribed both on- and off-label at Found—can improve health markers and chronic diseases beyond obesity in some people when paired with a healthy diet and exercise. Here’s a breakdown of the potential health benefits by medication: 

  • May improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels: metformin, Mounjaro®, Alli, Ozempic, Rybelsus®, Saxenda, Trulicity®, Victoza®, and Wegovy.
  • May improve blood pressure: metformin, Mounjaro, Alli, Ozempic, Saxenda, topiramate, Trulicity, Victoza, Wegovy, and zonisamide.
  • May lower the risk of heart disease: metformin, Mounjaro, Ozempic, Trulicity, and Victoza. However, this may depend on whether or not you have type 2 diabetes or are at high risk for heart disease.
  • May improve blood glucose levels: metformin, Mounjaro, Alli, Ozempic, Rybelsus, Saxenda, topiramate, Trulicity, Victoza, Wegovy, and zonisamide.
  • May improve PCOS symptoms: Alli, Saxenda, and Victoza are shown to benefit women with obesity and excess weight who also have PCOS.

How weight loss can improve or reverse health problems associated with obesity

 Weight loss alone can improve or reverse comorbidities (two or more medical conditions or diseases) associated with obesity. So when Found members lose weight through a combo of prescription medication and lifestyle changes (like a healthy diet and physical activity), the weight loss itself—not necessarily the medication—may ultimately improve their health.

Even losing a relatively small amount of weight can make a big difference. In fact, the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine recognize a body weight loss of five to 10 percent as enough to reduce the health risks of obesity. Research backs this up, showing that a weight loss of 5 percent to 10 percent can improve most weight-related comorbidities. Specifically, a body weight loss of 5 percent may improve the following conditions at a clinically significant level: 

  • PCOS
  • hypertension
  • high cholesterol 
  • insulin sensitivity
  • high blood sugar levels
  • high blood pressure
  • elevated triglycerides
  • cardiovascular disease

And there’s good news for people concerned about type 2 diabetes. Body weight loss of 5.3 percent may reduce the risk of developing the disease by as much as 37 percent, while a 10 percent body weight loss may actually put it into remission. In certain cases, the higher the weight loss, the more these conditions improve. 

Pairing weight-loss medications with a guided behavioral program improves your odds of hitting that five to 10 percent weight loss, according to the Obesity Medicine Association. Found’s program combines these elements and is designed by experts to address the biological, medical, and behavioral components of weight care. Found’s goal is to help you get lasting and sustainable results. 

GLP-1*

GLP-1 prescriptions, filled through your local pharmacy, are now available as part of Found's weight-loss toolkit. While GLP-1s are effective for weight loss, they are not clinically appropriate for everyone. Eligibility for a GLP-1 is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate for you, our providers will work with you to determine an effective medication for your health profile.

About Found

Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

Published date:
June 26, 2023
Meet the author
Kaitlyn Dykman
Health writer

Sources

  • Saydam, B. O., & Yildiz, B. O. (2021). Weight management strategies for patients with PCOS: current perspectives. Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 16(2), 49–62. https://doi.org/10.1080/17446651.2021.1896966
  • Horn, D. B., Almandoz, J. P., & Look, M. (2022). What is clinically relevant weight loss for your patients and how can it be achieved? A narrative review. Postgraduate Medicine, 134(4), 359–375. https://doi.org/10.1080/00325481.2022.2051366
  • Magkos, F., Fraterrigo, G., Yoshino, J., Luecking, C. T., Kirbach, K., Kelly, S., De Las Fuentes, L., He, S., Okunade, A. L., Patterson, B. W., & Klein, S. (2016). Effects of Moderate and Subsequent Progressive Weight Loss on Metabolic Function and Adipose Tissue Biology in Humans with Obesity. Cell Metabolism, 23(4), 591–601. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.02.005
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