Traditional Chinese Medicine Combined Approach to Obesity
Studies and clinical experience on the treatment of obesity and related diseases.
The TCM-CAO method, a combined treatment of weight excess and obesity with Chinese diet, auricular therapy and home
Clinical case I The first case is the typical female obese, who had tried many diets before addressing our clinic.
She was a 52-year-old woman, a welfare worker, with familiarity for cardiovascular diseases. Overweight since very young, she tried many low-calorie diets without ever reaching the end of them; in 2001 her last attempt, a 1200-Kcal diet combined with sibutramine treatment, lasted only 3 months, with a total weight loss of 5,6 kg.
One year earlier, the patient had entered menopause and gained additional overweight. Moreover, she has been suffering from chronic HP-related gastritis, gastric-oesophageal reflux (she complained about gastric pyrosis after food excess) and recurrent lumbago-sciatica for about 10 years.
At the time of medical examination, her weight was 80,8 Kg (height 155 cm), BMI 33,6 Kg/m2 and the abdominal circumference 106 cm. The patient followed an irregular diet, with excessive intake of cheese and carbohydrates, occasionally of alcoholic drinks.
She started the TCM 1100-Kcal diet therapy and lost 1.3 Kg in one week.
In the first 2 weeks she complained a slight constipation, which was resolved with milk enzymes. Diuresis increased a lot. The patient lost 4.7 Kg after one month of treatment. After about 6 month of treatment, her body weight lowered to 62.9 Kg (BMI=26.2 Kg/m2) and after other 6 months to 58.4 kg (BMI=24.3 Kg/m2 and abdominal circumference=74 cm).
Moreover, gastro-intestinal symptoms considerably improved (the patient complained of gastric pyrosis very rarely), and she no more suffered from lumbago-sciatica.
Conclusions. This case clearly indicates how the TCM diet therapy can aid weight loss as well as be a psycho-physical support for the patient, who is encouraged to persist in following the diet.
The second clinical case is a 32-year-old man, an engineer, who addressed us for a preventive treatment of cardiovascular diseases; in fact he had a clear familiarity for this disease (his father, affected by ischaemic heart disease, recently underwent coronary angioplasty after AMI. This patient was worried about his recent blood tests: glycaemia 116 mg/dL (RV: 75-115 mg/dL); total cholesterolaemia 341 mg/dL (RV: ≤ 220 mg/dL); HDL cholesterolaemia 46 mg/dL (RV: 35-100 mg/dL); triglycerides 482 mg/dL (RV: ≤170 mg/dL).
During the last ten years his weight progressively increased and three years before he had followed a low-calorie diet for only 5 months, with temporary results. Currently the patient followed an irregular diet, as he had breakfast very rarely, usual snacks between meals, and an excessive intake of carbohydrates. He usually snored during sleep.
His blood pressure was 140-90 mmHg (heart rate: 80 b/min); height 177 cm; weight 99.1 Kg (BMI=31.6 Kg/m2); abdominal circumference 102 cm.
He started the TCM 1100-Kcal diet therapy and lost 2.6 Kg after one week; in one month he lost 9.2 Kg. After 6 months of treatment his body weight lowered to 77.6 Kg (BMI=24.8 Kg/m2) and abdominal circumference reduced to 83 cm.
The blood tests taken at the end of treatment in a different lab, were the following: glycaemia 82 mg/dL (RV: 65-110 mg/dL); total cholesterolaemia 141 mg/dL (RV: ≤220 mg/dL); HDL cholesterolaemia 50.8 (RV: 40-75); triglycerides 165 (RV: ≤ 170 mg/dL).
Conclusions. This case is an outstanding example of the role of TCM diet therapy on metabolism, particularly on hyperglycaemia and metabolic syndrome.
The third clinical case I have chosen is a 58-year-old man, public officer, who had been slightly overweight for about 5 years and was affected by arterial hypertension (about 150/100 mmHg). At the time of the medical examination in our clinic, he followed no antihypertensive treatment.
Since very young he had been affected by a depressive syndrome with obsessive-compulsive components, treated with tricyclic antidepressants and Freudian psychotherapy. In the last few months he suffered from a severe morning asthenia with a remarkable psychomotor slow-down, which heavily affected his normal working activity (the patient was not able to get up before noon). Furthermore, he complained intestine troubles with 3-4 bowel movements a day and loose stools, mainly in the morning.
He was following a vegetarian diet with a considerable intake of eggs and milk, at irregular intervals, and used to pick off food continuously during the day. His weight was 82.9 Kg and height 180 cm (BMI=25.6 Kg/m2); abdominal circumference was 92 cm.
After 7 months of TCM diet treatment, his weight lowered to 64.3 Kg (BMI=19.8 Kg/m2) and his abdominal circumference to 73 cm. Arterial pressure stabilized at 135/85 mmHg and his intestine regularized at one movement a day with normal stools.
A particularly interesting point was the clear improvement of his mood with a progressive reduction of morning asthenia, and resumption of his working activity.
Conclusions. This case exemplifies the validity of TCM diet therapy in patients affected by slight overweight or even normoweight subjects, but mainly highlights its effectiveness on behavioural mental disturbances.