Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem. It’s a health hazard. Someone who is 40% overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as is an average-weight person. This is because obesity has been linked to several serious medical conditions.
On research it is found that people who are 20% or more overweight can gain significant health benefits from losing weight.
Fortunately, even a modest weight loss of 5-7kgs can bring significant health improvements, such as lowering one’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Medical issues associated with Obesity-
These are the common medical issues associated with obesity
1.Heart disease and stroke-
Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability. Overweight people are more likely to have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, than people who are not overweight.
The good news is that losing a small amount of weight can reduce your chances of developing heart disease or a stroke. Reducing your weight by 10% can decrease your chance of developing heart disease.
Overweight people are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to normal weight people. You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight and exercise. If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help control your blood sugar levels. Increasing your physical activity may also allow you to reduce the amount of diabetes medication you need.
High blood pressure is linked to overweight and obesity in several ways. Having a large body size may increase blood pressure because your heart needs to pump harder to supply blood to all your cells. Excess fat may also damage your kidneys, which help regulate blood pressure. Weight loss that will get you close to the normal BMI range may greatly lower high blood pressure. Other helpful changes are to quit smoking, reduce salt, and get regular physical activity.
Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight. In women, these include cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast, and colon. Overweight men are at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer and prostate cancer.
Gallbladder disease and gallstones are more common if you are overweight. Your risk of disease increases as your weight increases.
Osteoarthritis is a common joint condition that most often affects the knee, hip, and lower back joints. Excess weight places extra pressure on these joints and wear away the cartilage (tissue that cushions the joints) that normally protects them.
Sleep apnea is a serious breathing condition that is associated with being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to snore heavily and to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. The risk for sleep apnea increases as body weight increases. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
Gout is a disease that affects the joints that is caused by high levels of a substance called uric acid in the blood. The large amount of uric acid can form into solid or crystal-like masses that deposit in the joints. Gout is more common in overweight people and the risk of developing the disorder increases with higher body weights.
The cause of fatty liver disease is still not known. The disease most often affects people who are middle-aged, overweight or obese, and/or diabetic.
Although there is no specific treatment for fatty liver disease, patients are generally advised to lose weight, eat a healthy diet, increase physical activity, and avoid drinking alcohol. If you have fatty liver disease, lowering your body weight to a healthy range may improve liver tests and reverse the disease to some extent.
10.Pregnancy associated conditions–
Overweight and obesity raise the risk of health problems for both mother and baby that may occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are overweight or obese may have an increased risk for
- Developing gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy)
- Having preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy that can cause severe problems for both mother and baby if left untreated)
- Needing a C-section and, as a result, taking longer to recover after giving birth.
- Babies of overweight or obese mothers are at an increased risk of being born too soon, being stillborn (dead in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy), and having neural tube defects (defects of the brain and spinal cord).
Reaching a normal weight before becoming pregnant may reduce your chances of developing weight-related problems.
Depression and obesity is a two way street and lead to one another.Excessive weight gain affects body positive image and affects mood. Obesity increases the risk for depression in initially non-depressed people by 55 percent, and depression increases the risk for obesity in initially normal-weight people by 58 percent.
All in all Obesity affects all the major organ systems and quality of life in general and later leads to serious complications.But the solution is simple,losing even a small amount of weight can lower significant risk factors for most medical issues.
And in achieving this goal,lifestyle changes go a long way.
Discuss with your doctor and dietician about the lifestyle changes that suits your requirements.
-Dr Prerna Gaur