Am I Overweight? Do You Know the Health Risks? There are more health risks for being overweight than most people realize. Our society is one that places too much emphasis on beauty and not nearly enough on our health. While looking good is a good reason to want to slim down, there are far more critical reasons you need to be aware of.
Overweight people are far more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. In this condition, blood sugar levels are abnormally elevated. Medication and injections are often necessary to control the disease. Type 2 diabetics are unable to heal properly, often leading to the amputation of limbs. Diabetes also leads to heart disease, stroke and blindness. In 2002, diabetes was listed as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
In coronary heart disease, the heart function and blood flow are inadequate. Arteries harden and narrow. Coronary heart disease can lead to heart attack, heart failure, chest pains and abnormal heart rhythm. This disease is the single leading cause of death in the United States.
A stroke is literally brain cell death due to restricted blood flow in the brain. A mild stroke can cause slurred speech, dizziness and loss of muscle tone and mobility on one side of the body. A severe stroke can be fatal. Strokes are the United States’ third largest killer.
Metabolic syndrome is a series of related conditions. It is diagnosed when a person has a large waistline, high triglycerides, low HDL (good cholesterol), high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Metabolic syndrome sufferers are twice as likely as their thinner peers to contract coronary artery disease and five times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Certain types of cancer are more common in obese patients. Cancer of the colon, esophagus and kidneys are more likely to occur in patients with obesity. Obese women also contract cancer of the uterus and breasts more often than thinner people. Cancer is a growth of abnormal cells that can spread to other parts of the body. The prognosis of cancer patients depends on the type and severity of the cancer, but cancer is the second largest cause of death in the United States.
The condition of sleep apnea is almost universal in obese patients. Sleep apnea patients quit breathing for a few seconds at a time many times during the night. This causes sleepiness the next day, trouble concentrating and even possible heart failure. CPAP machines can reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, but losing weight is the best way to avoid this dangerous disorder.
The health risks of being overweight also include osteoarthritis. In osteoarthritis, bone and cartilage of the joints wears away. The pain is caused from inflammation and bone rubbing against bone in the joint. It is most common in the knees, followed by the hips and lower back. The pressure of a person’s body weight wears on the joints of the body over time, weakening them and leaving the patient susceptible to osteoarthritis. This is a very painful condition, and there is no cure.Another good reason to aks yourself Am I Overweight?
Gall bladder disease is marked by frequent gall stones, inflammation of the gall bladder or infections of the gall bladder. All of these conditions are painful, and the pain ranges from dull to sharp. In some cases, removal of the gall bladder is necessary. Though reaching and maintaining a healthy weight reduces the chance and severity of gall bladder disease, the weight loss should be gradual. Fast weight loss from an unhealthy crash diet can increase the chance of developing gall stones.
When fat cells build up in the liver, they cause damage that leads to fatty liver disease. This disease, in turn, can lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the build-up of scar tissue that blocks the blood flow in the liver. Eventually, this can lead to liver failure. Though commonly associated with alcoholism, obesity causes the same damage and results to the liver as a lifetime of heavy drinking.
Obese patients have more pregnancy complications than thinner people. It is often difficult or impossible for them to conceive children, they have a greater incidence of gestational diabetes, they have more risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure that threatens the life of the mother and the baby), more risk of having to have a C-section and a greater chance of having complications during the C-section.
Clearly, the obesity risks are severe. The good news is, there are things you can do to lose weight and become a healthier person. First, choose a healthy diet plan or ask your doctor for one. The diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, small portions of lean meats for protein and some wheat and grains. Then get your doctor’s approval for some good heart-healthy exercise, such as daily walks, swimming and time on an exercise bike.Take charge of your stress relief.
Next, find a way to stay motivated on your diet. Support groups are available to help people trying to lose weight. Hypnosis has worked for many struggling dieters. Make sure your family and friends are willing to help you and not sabotage your plans. Finally, mark your successes regularly and celebrate them in a way that does not involve food and eating. Treat yourself to a new outfit or a fun day trip. The risks for being overweight are not worth a temporary satisfaction of eating unhealthy foods.