Obesity – The Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

Increased Health Risk of Premature Death

According to CDC researchers, an estimated 300,000 American deaths a year are related to obesity, but see note, below. The risk of premature death rises with increasing weight. Even moderate weight gain (10 to 20 pounds for a person of average height) increases the risk of death, particularly among adults aged 30 to 64 years. Individuals who are obese (BMI greater than 30) have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death from all causes, compared to individuals with a healthy weight.

Increased Health Risk of Heart Disease

The risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac death, angina or chest pain is increased in persons who are overweight or obese. High blood pressure is twice as common in adults who are obese than in those who are at a healthy weight. Obesity is associated with high triglycerides and decreased HDL cholesterol.

Increased Health Risk of Stroke

Atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which may lead to the formation of an arterial blood clot, is an important pre-condition of many strokes. Atherosclerosis is accelerated by high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and lack of exercise. Obesity, especially morbid obesity is frequently associated with a high-fat diet, raised blood pressure and lack of exercise. Thus obesity is now considered an important secondary risk factor for strokes.

Increased High Blood Pressure

This may then also lead to:

Headaches

Ear noise & buzzing

Tiredness

Shortness of breath

Excessive sweating

Confusion

Vision changes

Nose bleeds

Blood in urine

Kidney damage / failure

Strokes

Increased Health Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A weight increase of 11-18 pounds raises a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not gained weight. Over 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese. This may account for the newly invented word, “diabesity”®, which signifies the close association between obesity and diabetes.

Increased Health Risk of Cancers

Obesity is associated with an increased risk for some types of cancer including endometrial (cancer of the lining of the uterus), colon, gall bladder, prostate, kidney, and post-menopausal breast cancer. Women gaining more than 20 pounds from age 18 to midlife double their risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, compared to women whose weight remains stable.

Increased risk of Erectile Dysfunction

This stressful disorder is often linked to Insulin Resistance, an imbalance in blood glucose and insulin levels associated with excess weight and obesity. Being overweight can place extra strain on the cardiovascular system and disrupt the delicate balance required to achieve an erection and, therefore, cause ED.

Excess insulin created by Insulin Resistance is implicated in ED because it damages the endothelium of cardiovascular vessels. The endothelium is the layer on the inside of the vessel which secretes chemical mediators that instruct the vessel to contract or relax. To achieve an erection, a release of nitric oxide from the endothelium creates vascular dilation, which allows vessels to fill with blood. This influx of blood is necessary to achieve an erection. Any decrease in nitric oxide supply to the penis caused by the insulin-damaged endothelium lessens or prevents vascular dilation and contributes to erectile dysfunction.

If neglected, excess weight gain can also lead to other conditions linked to ED like the cluster of increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease called Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) as well as Pre-Diabetes, which, if neglected, can lead to irreversible Type 2 Diabetes. Between 35-50% of men with Diabetes experience ED because the disease can damage nerves and arteries, making it difficult to achieve an erection. However, major weight loss can be achieved can by reversing Insulin Resistance, thus removing major factors in the onset of ED.

As many as 70% of ED cases are caused by cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. This disorder is a type of hardening of the arteries in which cholesterol, fat and other blood components build up in artery walls via poor diet and lack of regular exercise resulting in excess weight gain.

As the condition progresses, the arteries to the heart may narrow, reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the heart and brain. This restriction can also reduce blood flow to the tissues of the penis, causing ED.

Other excess weight and obesity-linked cardiovascular diseases that can cause ED are hypertension (high blood pressure) and high levels of triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol in combination with low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol – all factors in reversible Metabolic Syndrome.

Increased Health Risk of Fatty Liver Disease

The main cause of non alcoholic fatty liver disease is insulin resistance, a metabolic disorder in which cells become insensitive to the effect of insulin. One of the most common risk factors for insulin resistance is obesity, especially central abdominal obesity. Studies indicate a correlation between body mass index (BMI) and the degree of liver damage. The higher the BMI the worse the liver disease.

Obesity is a Risk Factor for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Although obesity is not a direct cause of chronic venous insufficiency, it is an important risk factor. This is because obesity, especially morbid obesity, leads to raised blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle and musculoskeletal problems (hampering mobility and use of leg muscles), all of which are contributory factors in the development of chronic venous insufficiency. Obese patients also have an increased health risk of other vascular disorders (eg. lower-limb ischemia), caused by inadequate blood flow to the extremities.

Increased Health Risk of Gallbladder Disease

The risk of gallstones is approximately 3 times greater for obese patients than in non-obese people. Indeed, the risk of symptomatic gallstones appears to correlate with a rise in body mass index (BMI).

Increased Health Risk of Breathing Problems

Obstructive sleep apnea (that is, interrupted breathing during sleeping) is more common in obese persons. Obesity is associated with a higher prevalence of asthma and severe bronchitis, as well as obesity hypoventilation syndrome and respiratory insufficiency.

Obesity and Deep Vein Thrombosis

Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis include prior history of the disease, vascular damage, hypertension and predisposition to blood clotting. Although obesity (BMI 30+) has traditionally been recognized as a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, experts now consider that the evidence supporting this association is inadequate, as much depends on other factors such as history, illness, immobility, and age.

Increased Health Risk of Arthritis

Musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis, are much more prevalent among obese patients, especially patients diagnosed with severe clinical or morbid obesity. Health studies show that obesity is a strong predictor for symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially in the knees. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with every 2-pound gain in weight.

Increased Health Risks for Expectant Mother and Baby

Obesity has a strong detrimental effect on the health of both mother and new-born baby, both during and after pregnancy. Obesity while pregnant is associated with a higher risk of death in both the baby and the mother. It also raises the risk of high blood pressure in the Mom, by 10 times. Obesity during pregnancy is also associated with an increased risk of birth defects, such as spina bifida. Obesity-related health problems occurring after childbirth include higher risk of wound and endometrial infection, endometritis and urinary tract infection.

Psychological and Social Effects of Obesity

Emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. American society emphasizes physical appearance and often equates attractiveness with slimness, especially for women. Such messages make overweight people feel unattractive.

Other Risks:

– Elevated serum cholesterol levels

– Elevated LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels

– Decreased HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels

– Elevated triglyceride levels

– Decreased blood oxygen

– Decreased testosterone levels

– Irregular menstrual cycles

– Incontinence

– Increased surgical risks

– Tinnitus

– Reduced immune function

– Swollen joints / fluid retention

– Muscular aches and pains, particularly:

Neck

Shoulders

Chest

– Biomechanical injuries & faults, including:

Sunken arches / flat foot

Heel spurs

Plantar fasciitis

Shin soreness

Creaking knees

Achilles tendonitis

Calcific tendonopathy

Sprained ankles

Bone chips

– Impotence

– Infertility

– Loss of libido

Health Improvements after Weight Reduction

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 percent can decrease your chance of developing heart disease by improving how your heart works, blood pressure, and levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies show that you can improve your health by losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds.