As morbid obesity continues to grow in North America, so do the health conditions that come with it. It is no surprise then that there is a strong link between obesity rates and mortality rates. Let’s take a further look into this.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a health condition where the body gains extra weight. Although it may seem like a cosmetic issue, morbid obesity can lead to several health concerns.
How Do You Measure Obesity?
The Body Mass Index measures obesity in terms of ranges. To calculate BMI, one needs to divide the weight of the concerned individual by the square of their height. So, if your BMI score lies between 18.5 to 24.9, you are in the healthy weight range. However, individuals having a BMI score between 25 to 29.9 should consider themselves overweight. A BMI of 30 or means you are obese.
What Health Issues Does Obesity Bring?
Obesity is a severe health concern not only because it depletes your self-confidence but also because it may shelter numerous health issues. Below is a list of diseases and health concerns that may occur when one is obese.
How Obesity May Cause Type 2 Diabetes
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It makes its bearer insulin-resistant.
Insulin regulates the level of carbohydrates in the body to meet our energy demands. Being insulin-resistant can expose us to many heart and kidney diseases such as high blood sugar level, high cholesterol level, strokes, etc. It is a severe issue and can be fatal.
What’s worse? It genetically moves from one generation to the next. If you have diabetes, then it is likely that your children may suffer from the same in their adulthood. This hereditary characteristic is further developed when there is a low activity level, improper diet, and excess body fat around the waist.
What Is Obesity’s Link With Type 2 Diabetes?
According to a study, more than 87% of diabetic patients are obese. The fact that excessive weight makes our body insulin-resistant clears the reasons behind most of these events. Further, cells with high insulin demands may suffer from extreme pressure and, in turn, get damaged. However, it is vital to note that there is no scientifically proven relationship between obesity and diabetes.
Can Weight Loss Help Diabetes?
Physical fitness is considered one of the best remedies for diabetes. That is because it helps control blood sugar levels. Moreover, making the body starve for refined carbohydrates can also help restore the insulin sensitivity of the body. That, in turn, can safeguard an individual from the impact of Type 2 Diabetes.
According to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) - a sponsored study of the National Institute of Health, obese adults can reduce Type 2 Diabetes by losing 5% to 7% of their body-weight. Further, if you are obese you will greatly benefit from doing moderate to intense exercise for approximately 150 minutes per week. For health, and cosmetic, benefits.
How Obesity Affects Blood Pressure
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Our heart pumps blood to different organs of our body, and the pressure induced is termed blood pressure. Generally, high blood pressure has no symptoms but it is perilous. It may lead to several fatal medical conditions such as heart diseases, stroke, kidney failure, etc.
Health experts recommend you check your blood pressure regularly. To check it, doctors use a special tool or monitor. Your blood pressure is normal if it is between 120/80 mm Hg (often referred to as “120 over 80”). It is high when the systolic blood pressure (high blood pressure) measures 140mm Hg or above, and diastolic blood pressure (lower blood pressure) shows 90mm Hg or above.
How Is Blood Pressure Linked to Obesity?
An individual’s blood pressure and weight profile are closely related to each other in several ways. For instance, we understand that excessive weight increases the natural size of the body. In that scenario, the heart works harder to pump blood to every organ. This excessive work may create extreme pressure on the heart. Apart from this, high blood pressure also throws risks towards our kidneys. That may be fatal because kidneys help regulate blood pressure.
How Can Weight Loss Help?
Weight loss can reduce the pressure of the heart. Here’s how. First, it can reduce the body size so the heart experience ease in pumping blood to different parts of the body. It also lowers cholesterol levels which helps clear and widen blood artilleries. That, in turn, allows smooth blood flow through the veins and thus lowers blood pressure.
How Obesity Links to Heart Disease
What Is Heart Disease?
The term ‘heart disease’ is collectively used for any issue that can affect the heart. The most common problem is when a blood vessel becomes hard and narrow. In this scenario, the heart does not receive the required amount of blood as the pathways are narrower. Hence, it has to apply greater efforts to pump blood. A person suffering from heart disease is likely to suffer from a heart attack, heart failure, sudden cardiac death, angina (chest pain), or abnormal heart rhythm.
Is There A Connection with Obesity?
A person with excessive weight always remains at a high risk of suffering from heart disease. With excessive weight, your heart works harder to meet the body’s blood requirement. Hence, being obese may lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.
How Does Weight Loss Help?
By reducing 5% to 10% of the weight, an individual can reduce the risk of heart diseases. They can even regulate their blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood flow.
How Obesity May Lead to Strokes
What Are Strokes?
The brain consumes 60% of the body’s energy, and requires more blood than any other part of the body. However, under certain unusual conditions, blood circulation in a particular part of your brain may stop. In such a case, the brain cells in the respective region fail to function. Scientifically, this is called a stroke.
There are two kinds of strokes – ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke is the most common. It happens when a clot stops blood circulation in the artery carrying blood to the brain. On the other hand, hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood circulates in the brain stops due to an explosion of blood vessels.
How Do Strokes Occur?
Did you know that high blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes? Other than that, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and heart disease are also primary causes. All these things generally occur when one is overweight. Therefore, being obese can lead to a greater chance of a stroke.
Does Weight Loss Work?
Controlling blood pressure (the leading cause of stroke) is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of a brain-stroke. Interestingly, reducing body-fat percentage is found as an effective way to control high blood pressure. Apart from blood pressure, it also regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels of the body.
The Link Between Obesity and Cancer
What Is Cancer?
Did you know that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA? This disease causes the abnormal growth of cells within the body’s infected parts, which can cause tissue damage (out of control growth). Apart from damaging tissues, the cancerous cells could also spread to other parts of the body.
What Is Obesity’s Connection with Cancer?
The relation between weight-gain and cancer is not clear, but weight gain has a hand in stimulating cancerous cells. The hormones released by fat cells stimulate cell growth which can worsen the condition of cancer patients. Therefore, any habit that results in weight gain may also increase the risk of cancer.
The following types of cancer have shown to exhibit a link with obesity
How Can You Lower the Risk?
Healthy eating and physical activities may prevent weight gain. Avoiding weight-gain may lower the risks of cancer, but studies are still inconclusive about it.
The Relation Between Sleep Apnea And Obesity
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. That occurs because breathing is interrupted as the lungs stop moving. An individual suffering from sleep apnea may experience sleepiness during the daytime, problems concentrating, and even heart failure.
Is Sleep Apnea Linked to Obesity?
Morbid obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea. When you have excessive fat in the body, it tends to accumulate around the neck. That often results in narrower airways making it difficult to breathe. Excessive fat may also cause inflammation in the whole body which can also lead to sleep apnea.
Can Weight Loss Help?
If you can only reduce the body fat percentage, then the fat around the neck would also decrease. Thus, by widening the airways, one can cure sleep apnea.
Osteoarthritis And Its Link With Obesity
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in joints due to aging or an injury. Here, the protective tissue at the end of the bones wears down. It usually occurs in joints of the hands, knees, hips, and lower back.
Does Obesity Play A Role?
Excessive weight exerts extra pressure on the joints of the body, and makes them weaker. Moreover, it also wears down the flexible protective tissues of the joint.
Can Weight Loss Help?
Losing weight can reduce jerks on the joints while running, walking, and sitting. It can even help reduce the inflammation of the body and, thus, help in recovering from osteoarthritis. Physical workout and exercises not only help reduce weight, but they can also improve mood, reduce pain, and increase flexibility.
Fatty Liver Disease And Its Connection With Obesity
What Is Fatty Liver Disease?
Our liver has regenerative capabilities; i.e. it can heal itself after being damaged. However, its pace of regeneration is constant. This can be a drawback. There are some diseases that can cause such immense damage to the liver that it fails to recover in time. These diseases include fatty liver diseases or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). They generally show mild or no symptoms, and are hence not easily recognized.
What Is Its Link with Obesity?
The causes of Fatty Liver disease or NASH are still unknown. However, some surveys say that there was one common factor among most of its patients - their weight. Most of them were either obese, diabetic, or both. Age didn’t come up as a concerning issue as it was also prevalent among children.
How Can Weight Loss Help?
As the exact cause of Fatty Liver disease is yet unknown, patients should keep their bodies healthy by losing weight, eating healthy food, avoiding alcohol, etc. If anyone is suffering from fatty liver disease, maintaining a healthy weight may improve liver tests.
Kidney Disease’s Link With Obesity
What Is Kidney Disease?
Kidneys maintain the overall fluid balance in the body. They regulate and filter minerals from the blood, waste materials from food, medications, and toxic substances. They also control the blood pressure of the body. But they are not perfect; they can face malfunctions. Kidney disease occurs when there is insufficient or no filtering of blood, and waste accumulates in the body. That often leads to several health problems.
How Is Kidney Disease Linked to Obesity?
Morbid obesity is a significant factor in chronic kidney diseases. It also leads to high blood pressure and diabetes which are common causes of kidney diseases.
How Can Weight Loss Help?
In the early stage of chronic kidney diseases, weight loss is a decelerating factor that can keep your kidneys healthier. Other than that, reducing the amount of salt content in the food is also recommended for the patients. That is because it helps maintain the blood pressure and blood glucose levels in the target range.
How Obesity May Cause Pregnancy Problems
What Sort of Pregnancy Problems?
During pregnancy, the mother’s health is crucial. Excessive weight, or morbid obesity, can pose a threat not for the mother as well as the baby.
Obese pregnant women develop high blood-sugar levels which might cause gestational diabetes. That makes natural delivery difficult. It also raises a necessity for a C-section which requires longer recovery time. Moreover, it can also lead to preeclampsia where high blood pressure has severe adverse effects on the mother’s health.
Apart from that, surveys say that the birth of a premature child is widespread among obese pregnant women. It may also lead to miscarriage (of about 20 weeks of pregnancy), or even leads to neural tube defects in the newborn.
What Is Obesity’s Role In These Problems?
Insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure are more likely to develop in pregnant women. During surgery, these factors create large risks such as blood loss, the delayed anesthesia effect, and prolonged surgery hours.
It also has long term effects for both mother and child. Obesity can be hereditary; the chances of the baby suffering from obesity also increase.
Will Weight Loss Help?
Weight loss is perhaps the best way to prevent most of these diseases during pregnancy. If you are planning for pregnancy and are obese, then always remember that reaching within the healthy weight category should be your priority. It will prevent future complications. Losing weight after delivery can also reduce all kinds of life-threatening factors for both mother and child.
Hence, Obesity Needs To Be Taken Seriously
The human body needs to be fit to maintain good health so that it can work with optimum efficiency and be free of harmful diseases. Being overweight and obese can expose you to many dangerous conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Fatty Liver Disease, etc. You should take preventive steps, and form healthy lifestyle habits that you religiously follow. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to managing your weight and fighting obesity.
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