Mr. A, an office worker in his 40s, underwent ‘obesity metabolism surgery’ two years ago. It was quite a big operation to remove 80% of the stomach. The reason Mr. A decided to undergo obesity metabolic surgery was none other than ‘health’.
Obesity itself is a disease. It is not a disease mentally, but an ‘official’ disease classified as a disease code by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA). For this reason, the number of people undergoing surgery for severe obesity, like Mr. A, exceeds ‘2,500 (as of 2019)’.
According to the HIRA, the number of patients visiting hospitals for obesity in Korea more than doubled from 14,966 in 2017 to 30,170 in 2021. Over the same period, patients hospitalized for obesity accounted for about 5% of all obesity treatment patients.
In the medical world, obesity is also said to be a disease that requires systematic treatment. Obesity can lead to death from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease (angina pectoris/myocardial infarction), heart failure, and stroke.
Gastrointestinal diseases, gout, osteoarthritis, genitourinary system diseases, as well as cancers such as breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer스포츠토토, and colon cancer increase.
Obesity treatment methods include lifestyle improvement treatment such as diet and exercise therapy, drug therapy, and surgical treatment.
In Korea, severe obesity surgery has been partially covered by health insurance since 2019, and 2529 cases were performed that year alone. Body mass index ( BMI ) 35kg/More than ㎡ or 30kg/If the area is larger than ㎡ and there are comorbidities such as high blood pressure or diabetes, surgery can be performed for about 3 million won.
Considering that 0.17% of all patients undergoing surgery for severe obesity in Korea, the total number of severely obese patients is expected to reach about 1.5 million.
The growth of the obesity treatment market is also alarming. According to Research & Research, a market research firm, the global obesity treatment market is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2021 to $4.6 billion in 2026.
According to Chung-Ang University Hospital, obesity drugs include Qsymia represented by phentermine and Saxenda, an injectable drug. Wigobi and Maunjaro, which were recently launched in the US, are scheduled to be released in Korea in the second half of this year or the first half of next year.
In particular, in the case of Novo Nordisk Wigobi, despite the high price of about 2 million won per month, it is known that celebrities such as Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian have used it, drawing attention. Wegobee’s sales last year amounted to 2.5 billion dollars (approximately 3.3162 trillion won).Kim Jong-won, a professor at Chung-Ang University Hospital’s Department of Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Clinic, said, “Severe obesity should be recognized as a disease that requires treatment with a high risk of death due to various complications.” should be implemented,” he said.