Consuming too many calories and leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity. Obesity is not just an issue about physical appearance. If not addressed, this condition can increase the risk of many diseases. In this post, we will discuss some of the diseases associated with obesity.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a condition which occurs when a person carries extreme excess weight or body fat. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool doctors use to assess if the weight of a person is appropriate for his/her age, gender, and height. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 indicates that a person is overweight. Meanwhile, a BMI of 30 and above suggests that a person is obese. Click here to know your BMI.
Diseases Associated with Obesity
1. Heart Disease and Stroke
Extra weight makes a person more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Both of these conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, being obese contributes to angina (chest pain) and sudden death from heart disease/stroke without any signs or symptoms.
The good news is, losing even a small amount of weight (10% weight reduction) can reduce the chance of heart disease and stroke. Losing more weight can lower the risk even more.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes reduces the body’s ability to control blood sugar. It can lead to heart disease, stroke, and blindness. People who are overweight are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those with normal weight. Many people who have type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese. You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by exercising, getting adequate sleep, and eating a balanced diet.
Several types of cancer are associated with obesity. Cancer of the colon, breast, endometrium (lining of the uterus), esophagus, and kidney are linked to obesity. Some studies have also showed links between obesity and cancer of the pancreas, ovaries, and gallbladder. For some types of cancer, such as breast or colon, it’s not clear whether the increased risk is because of the extra weight or due to a high-fat, high-calorie diet.
4. Gallbladder Disease
Gallstones and gallbladder disease are more common in people who are overweight. The risk of disease increases as weight increases. However, it is not yet clear how being overweight can cause gallbladder disease.
Ironically, weight loss, especially rapid weight loss or losing a large amount of weight, can actually increase the chance of developing gallstones. Modest or slow weight loss of about one pound a week is less likely to cause gallstones.
Osteoarthritis is a joint condition that often affects the knee, hip, and lower back. Carrying extra weight puts extra pressure on these joints and wears away cartilage (tissue that cushions the joints) that protects them. Weight loss can reduce the stress on the knee, hip, and lower back, and alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Gout is a disease which affects the joints. It’s caused by high uric acid levels in the blood. The excess uric acid can form into crystals that are deposited in the joints. Gout is more common in individuals who are overweight. The more you weigh, the higher the risk of developing this condition. The symptoms of gout include pain, redness, and swelling in joints. The big toe is the usual area first affected by gout.
7. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a breathing condition associated with being overweight. During sleep, this condition can cause a person to snore heavily and stop breathing for short periods. It may also cause daytime sleepiness and make heart disease or stroke more likely. The possibility of having sleep apnea increases as body weight increases. Weight loss can help with sleep apnea.
There are many diseases associated with obesity. An initial goal of 5 to 10% weight reduction can reduce your risk of developing obesity-related diseases mentioned above. If you are obese, consider starting a weight loss program through diet and exercise. The FITin56 program can help you with that.