It is a generally accepted fact that reaching and maintaining your healthy weight is important for your overall health and it will also keep you safe from many obesity-related diseases and conditions.
If you are obese, you are at higher risk of developing the following serious health problems:
1. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Blood pressure is the pressure excreted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. You may have high blood pressure if your blood pressure reading are consistently 140 over 90 or higher over number of weeks. Even if only one of the number is high over several weeks, you may still have high blood pressure.
When you are overweight, and not very physically active, fat gets accumulated in your arteries, which will increase the pressure exerted by blood on the arterial walls, and it will make your heart work harder to supply blood to the whole body.
High blood pressure is called a silent killer, as untreated hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, damage to kidneys, blindness, and dementia.
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2. Type 2 diabetes
Insulin is a hormone made in pancreas, that helps us to use glucose from the food we eat for energy and to store excess glucose as fat for future use. It helps regulate your blood sugar from getting too high or too low.
When a person is overweight, the fat content of theirs cells and tissues are high and they become more resistant to insulin. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type pre-diabetes and 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance will result in high blood glucose, which will over time affect the entire body. The damaged blood vessels due to high glucose can cause problems such as:
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Heart attacks
- Vision loss or blindness
- Weakened immune system, with a greater risk of infections
- Erectile dysfunction
- Nerve damage, also called neuropathy, that causes tingling, pain, or less sensation in your feet, legs, and hands
- Poor circulation to the legs and feet
- Slow wound healing and the potential for amputation
3. Coronary heart disease (CHD)
In CHD a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the main coronary arteries. The arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, to keep it pumping. Over time the plaque can narrow or block the coronary arteries, restricting the blood flow to the heart muscles.
This can lead to Angina, that feels like a dull, heavy, or tight pain in the chest that sometimes spread to the left arm, neck, jaw or back.
You may also feel shortness of breath and extreme fatigue with exertion because of CHD. And if the coronary artery is completely blocked it may cause a heart attack.
As already mentioned several times in this article being overweight can lead to building up of plaque in your arteries. Which may over time lead to their rupture, forming a blood clot.
If the blood clot is near the brain, it may result in the blockage of blood supply and oxygen to that part of the brain. Which will cause that section of the brain to stop working and cause a stroke. That is it will cause the part of the body that the injured part of the brain controlled to stop working.
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5. Certain type of cancers
Various studies have shown that being overweight increases the risk of developing certain types of cancers. They are Breast cancer, Colorectal cancer, Uterine cancer, Kidney cancer, Head and neck cancer, Esophageal cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Prostate cancer, Gallbladder cancer, Thyroid cancer, Endometrium (lining of the uterus) cancer, etc.
The reasons for the link of developing cancer to being overweight include:
- Excess fat cells are shown to affect our bodies natural processes that regulate cancer cell growth.
- The increased level of insulin and insulin growth factor-1 in overweight people have shown to help certain cancer to develop.
- Chronic, low-level inflammation, which is more common in overweight people, has been linked to increased cancer risk.
- The fat tissues produce higher amounts of Estragon, which can increase the possibility of development of breast and endometrial cancers.
6. Gallbladder disease
When there too much cholesterol in the bile secreted by your liver (you guessed it, one of the side effects of being obese), hard cholesterol stones may develop in gallbladder called as gallstones.
These gallstones may block the duct where the bile moves from the gallbladder, which may lead to a gallbladder attack. Which may result in extreme stomach pain or back pain, fever, chills, or appetite loss.
Obesity may cause insulin resistance and hormonal changes to a women’s body. This affects their fertility and can create abnormal menstrual cycles. Insulin resistance can also lead to anovulation, that is your body does not produce eggs correctly, which decreases the chances of conception.
Obesity also affects your chances of conception by reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Chances of miscarriage are also higher in overweight people.
Obesity also affects men’s fertility as it leads to drop in testosterone hormone. And erectile dysfunction is also more common in overweight men.
Being overweight may cause the kidney to function inefficiently at removing uric acid from the body. And the elevated level of uric acid in the body is the primary reason in the development of gout and its debilitating attacks. It has been observed that the more you weigh, the higher your risk of developing gout and the more likely you are to have recurrent attacks.
Obesity causes increased pressure on the knee and hip joints. This excessive pressure on the joints can lead to cartilage damage which can often lead to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis may limit the range of motion of the joints, may cause mild swelling around the joints, and may be quite painful.
10. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is serious disorder in which the breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep. This disease results in decreased oxygen in the blood and briefly wakes up the sleepers throughout the night.
One of the leading cause of obstructive sleep apnea is obesity, which is associated with the soft tissues of the mouth and throat. When you are sleeping these throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed, and this soft tissue can cause the airway to become blocked.
Recent studies suggest that obstructive sleep apnea is strongly associated with conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease, nocturnal angina, heart failure, hypothyroidism, and abnormal heart rhythm.
In addition to this obstructive sleep apnea is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness, which increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents and depression.
Obesity may cause you to have low self-esteem, poor self-image, and social isolation, all of which will contribute to depression. Overweight people may also find themselves ostracized, stereotyped, and discriminated against. Also, diseases like chronic joint pain, hypertension, and diabetes associated with obesity have all been linked to depression.
This above list is by no means a complete list of diseases that are associated with being obese. But I hope this will motivate you to maintain a healthy weight. And I hope that you will act and reduce your risk of developing these problems. Your goal for healthy weight is a worthy goal, and it will make you feel good about yourself, and give your more energy to enjoy life.