Posted by: ANGE | 2009-01-21

Too Fat to Fly???

I am a 29 year old woman with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and I am (if I work out my BMI) obese. I am about 168cm tall and weigh about 125kg... Do you think I would fit into an aeroplane seat? Do you thinkI would be ok to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town? I have never flown before but I am in a panic about this. What if I have a heart attack or a stroke??? I don' t even know if I will fit in the seat...
PLease help!!!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Ange
Your BMI is indeed very, very high at 44,3 and I suspect that most of your medical conditions (the high bp and raised cholesterol) are being exacerbated by your obesity. You don't mention when you have to fly?? if it is soon, you will not be able to change your weight as this takes time. You need to go to an SAA office (pop in at O R Tambo airport) and ask the staff what they would advise. They may be able to book you two seats so that you can at least sit more comfortably and arrange to get you in to the plane without you having to climb the rather steep stairs. It is not likely that you will die of a heart attack or stroke because of flying, but if you work yourself up into a panic attack, the latter may well make you ill. Discuss this with your gp because he/she will be able to prescribe a mild tranquilliser for you so that you don't panic. Once you have flown (which is actually a wonderful experience) and are back home, I would recommend that you do something about your weight. Because you have so much weight to lose (41 kg to get back to a BMI of 30 and 55 kg to get back into the normal range), I would recommend that you consider having a gastric bypass. Contact the Bariatric Centres of Excellence in regard to having a gastric bypass to assist weightloss. You can contact Jana Derksen at the Call Centre for the Netcare Bariatric Centres of Excellence on 0861-623-7489 or contact her at: or call her on her cell phone at: 072-373-0155 or visit their Website at to discuss this option because your obesity is a direct threat to your health despite the fact that you are still so young.
Go and enjoy that flight!

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